In 2009, researcher Veronica Witte, Ph.D., and her colleagues demonstrated that restricting calories by 35% improved memory in healthy elderly patients after three months. But we also know that people feel deprived when they use a method solely based on restricting calories, and they end up unhappy and even anxious. Other ways to get our bodies and minds into a calorie-restriction mode and promote autophagy include intermittent fasting, fasting-mimicking diets, and time-restricted eating.

Another way to do so is actually with food. Nature is brilliant and it turns out that the polyphenols in plants (catechins in green tea, curcumin in turmeric, oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol in olive oil, chlorogenic acid and trigonelline in coffee, resveratrol in red grapes, etc.) can also activate autophagy by mimicking calorie restriction. As I discuss in my book This Is Your Brain on Food, these plant polyphenols are rich in nutrients that fend off dementia, making them brain-healthy picks to add to your plate.

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