Eat olive oil—get good grades

Healthy fats helps brain turn short-term memories into long-term ones

Eating an oily meal after studying for an exam could boost your grades, according to New Scientist, which reports on a new study in lab rats showing that eating a specific type of fat makes a hormone that helps the brain turn short-term memories into long-term ones. In the study, rats were trained to complete two tasks – to avoid an area that gave them a shock, and to find a platform in a pool of water. Just after a training period, some rats were injected with oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a chemical secreted in the small intestine that creates the feeling of fullness after eating fat. Up to two days later, the rats that received OEA performed the tasks better, which suggests they had a better memory of being trained. OEA seems to activate the same areas of the brain that mediate formation of emotionally charged memories in humans, experiments showed. Danielle Piomelli, one of the researchers at the University of California at Irvine, points out that it makes evolutionary sense—after all, if an animal found a high-calorie meal, it would serve them well to remember where and how they found it. OEA is produced only after eating healthy unsaturated fat called oleic acid, which is found in olive oil and elsewhere.

New Scientist

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