In the News: Meal Timing May Lead to Weight Loss, Curcumin Improves Mood and Memory, Non-Drug Methods of Helping Alzheimer’s Tested

Researchers say restricting when you eat promotes weight loss. It is well-documented that eating unprocessed foods food full of nutrients and taking part in moderate daily exercise will help you lose weight, but more researchers now say that the timing of your meals matters in weight loss as well. Time-restricted feeding (TRF) can burn more fat, and particularly help people whose previously steady weight loss has plateaued. Fat burning is the highest when you sleep, and food takes about three to five hours to metabolize. Therefore, shifting all of your meals into an eight or twelve-hour eating window means that all of your food will be metabolized by bedtime, leaving stored fat for your body to burn. The window begins with the very first bite or sips you ingest and ends with the last. This very structured eating strategy also helps ensure that you are eating to remedy hunger, instead of eating to fight boredom, stress, or emotions. (NBC)

UCLA researchers find consumption of curcumin helps mood and memory. Forty adults with mild memory complaints were randomly selected to ingest curcumin twice daily or a placebo for 18 months. They underwent cognitive assessments and PET scans to test amyloid in the brain, which is associated with negative effects on memory and emotional functions. Those taking curcumin improved their memory tests by twenty-eight percent, demonstrated mild mood improvements, and showed far smaller levels of amyloid than the placebo group. A follow-up study will explore the possibility of curcumin possessing antidepressant effects and whether it can help your genetic risk for Alzheimer’s. These findings back up the far lower rate of Alzheimer’s in India’s senior citizens, whose diet is high in curcumin. Want to test how sharp your memory is? Take this quiz. (SD)

Non-drug methods could help Alzheimer’s disease. Around twenty-five percent of the world’s population is born with one copy of the Alzheimer’s gene, and two to three percent is born with two copies, giving them double the risk of developing the disease. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and a strong social life have already been proven to slow the development of the disease, but researchers in Finland recently set out to compare the effects of these variables specifically on people with and without the Alzheimer’s gene. The participant, none with signs of current cognitive impairment, were randomly assigned to a fairly intense diet, exercise, and brain training program. Those assigned to this intense program all performed similarly well on memory and cognition tests, regardless of whether or not they possessed the predisposition gene for Alzheimer’s, suggesting that those lifestyle changes are equally helpful for all people. More studies will have to be done to determine whether these non-drug therapies are more effective on people with the gene. Want to learn more about how to eat to prevent Alzheimer’s? Check out this grocery list. (TIME)