Issue 21 January 27th 2015
MORE ON EXERCISE AND EATING
In last week's newsletter we talked about new discoveries showing that exercise can help stabilize brain chemistry, particularly in regards to reducing cravings while improving memory and decision making. In this week's newsletter we continue with new discoveries showing that exercise can also improve memory and sleep, which in turn improves our control over eating. Next week we will continue with our discussion of exercise and its impact on mobility, mood, self-esteem, hormone function and even DNA.
In a 2014 study in rats, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that a high-fat diet diminished memory. The researchers found a possible reason for this. A substance called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was reduced in the rats that were fed a high-fat diet. BDNF is secreted by the hippocampus in the brain and helps memory. These rats could not remember events that happened in their cages. The good news is that after exercise rats could fully remember these experiences. The finding was reinforced as researchers found that BDNF production had been restored in the rats after exercise.
This is very good news for peoples whose memory has been impaired by diet.
Sleep and exercise were also linked. Sleep is important to diet because researchers at Colombia University have found that when people are sleep-deprived the reward centers in their brains are more easily activated by unhealthy food. So temptation is harder to overcome when we don't get enough sleep. When researchers at Boston University looked at all the research they found that exercise has a moderately good impact on sleep. So exercise improves sleep, which in turn decreases reactions to unhealthy food.
The bottom line on exercise is to use it to stablize brain chemistry and be clear-headed when dealing with food.