A number of studies have shown that a simple dietary maneuver may be one of the most effective anti-aging strategies ever. In the lab, it’s virtually the only thing that’s been shown to extend the life of every species tested, from yeast and fruit flies to monkeys.

It can help you lose weight.

It may also improve memory.

And it doesn’t require drugs or fancy equipment.

I’m talking about cutting calories.

Researchers in Germany asked one group of elderly volunteers to eat the food they normally ate but to eat about one-third fewer calories, primarily by eating smaller portions. After three months on this diet, they were given a memory test. Compared to two other groups who had been eating their regular number of calories, this group had a significant improvement in memory.

“To our knowledge, the current results provide the first experimental evidence in humans that caloric restriction improves memory in the elderly,” said the researchers.

Scientists aren’t sure of the exact mechanism by which calorie restriction helps the brain, but theorize that it’s because it reduces both inflammation and oxidative damage, both known brain-agers.

To get the full advantages of this simple strategy, all you have to do is reduce your portions by one-third.

[Ed. Note: Making simple lifestyle changes – like curbing your caloric intake – can have a huge effect on your overall health. Find out more about effective natural cures from Jonny Bowden, author of the upcoming book The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer, at JonnyBowden.com.

Not sure how to cut calories without sacrificing flavor? Discover dozens of healthy recipes and plenty of expert advice about what you should and shouldn’t be eating by signing up for ETR’s FREE natural health e-newsletter.]