Eating less could help you remember more, researchers have found.
And swapping dessert for an after-dinner coffee could be good for your brain, as well as your waistline.
The news follows an Italian study into "calorific restriction" - the idea that near-starvation rations boost health and extend life. Scientists have long known of the phenomenon, but have struggled to work out just what it is about severely cutting calories that improves health.
Researcher Giovambattista Pani decided to focus on a protein called CREB1 that is known to be important to memory and learning.
In experiments on mice, he showed that cutting calories boosted learning - but only if they still were able to make CREB1.
He also showed that cutting calories boosts the amount of the protein made in the brain.
The animals' calorie count was only cut by 25 to 30 per cent. In human terms, this equates to about 600 calories a day, which is roughly the equivalent or having cereal for breakfast instead of a full fry-up.
A cup of tea or coffee may also be beneficial, with studies crediting caffeine with upping the amount of CREB1 made in the body.
Dr Pani, of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, suggested medicines could be developed that "turn up" CREB1.
"This gives us a tool to better investigate this brain circuitry and try to figure out more drugs that do the same," he said.
His experiments are detailed in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
- DAILY MAIL