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Food Coma May Improve Your Memory


Sapna Parikh (Host): the next time you eat a huge meal and then you find yourself in a little bit of a food coma,
you may actually be improving your memory. Researchers at the Center for
Neural Science tested this theory on California sea slugs. Slugs are often
used in brain studies because they have really big brain cells and there’s not
that many, so it’s easy to see what’s up. Anyway, the scientists fed the slugs some savory seaweed. Eating promotes the release of insulin, a hormone that
diminishes movement and increases the absorption of nutrients. That’s what
leads to the whole “rest and digest period” or which you might call a “food
coma.” I think this guy had a little too much espresso. [sound effect] But in the sluggish slugs, the researchers were surprised to see that insulin also strengthened the
connections between brain cells, or neurons, which plays a role in long-term
memory formation. And while the insulin process is of course more complex in
humans than in slugs, the authors of the study say it may help explain the
biological purpose behind our love of a good post-fiesta siesta.

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