For anyone in need of a memory boost, breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, according to Canadian researchers. Their study of healthy elderly men and women showed that taking in calories after an overnight fast--be they from carbohydrates, protein or fat--boosted the participants' performance on memory tests.
The fact that fat and protein enhanced short-term memory was a surprise. Previous research has shown carbohydrates can fuel memory-based performance, and many investigators have reasoned that the jump in blood sugar (glucose) provided by carbohydrates explains the connection.
It now seems that calorie intake after a period of fasting, regardless of the source, may be the key to a short burst in memory capacity. But carbohydrates in this study generally brought longer-term benefits to participants' memory than either fats or protein did. People should continue to get a majority of calories from carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains--rather than simple sugars like those found in the morning-meeting doughnut or muffin.
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