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Saturated Fat and Your Brain


BM

As we get older, cognitive function often declines and we start to forget things and process information slower. Many recent studies have shown that exercise is an excellent way to protect against cognitive decline and so we should all follow a schedule of regular exercise. However if you are looking for more protection, then limiting the amount of saturated fat in your diet and replacing it with fresh fruits and vegetables has been shown to work well.

A 2008 study by Dr. Eskelinen and colleagues followed over 14000 people for a period of 21 years starting in midlife. The researchers monitored participants' saturated fat intake and regularly assessed their cognitive function. The results, while somewhat expected, were still quite remarkable. Participants who consumed large amounts of saturated fats ended up with more than double the cognitive impairment compared to participants who consumed limited saturated fat. They experienced poorer global cognitive function as well as a loss of prospective memory.

Whether you are already experiencing cognitive decline or just thinking about the future, you should begin right now and lower your intake of saturated fats. This includes saturated fats from dairy, processed foods and oils, and fats in cooked meats. Try getting your fat intake from unprocessed, raw fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Then include some regular exercise and your brain will enjoy the benefits of a clear mind in your old age.


References:

Eskelinen MH, Kivipelto M, et al. Fat intake at midlife and cognitive impairment later in life: a population-based CAIDE study. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. 23(7): 741-7, 2008.

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