Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dietary Fat Types And Cognitive Change

According to a new study published in Annals of Neurology and conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), a certain type of saturated fat, or "bad fat", is worse for women's overall memory and cognitive function. On the other hand, "good fat", or monounsaturated fats, have been linked to better memory and overall healthier cognitive function.

For their study, the researchers looked at data from the Women's Health Study - 6,000 women ages 65 and older, and compared them to a cohort of 40,000 women over the age of 45. The women were asked to take three tests, every 2 years for an average of 4 years, to analyze their cognitive function. Before they were tested, the women all were asked to fill out detailed surveys about what they were eating.

Olivia Okereke, MD, MS, from Brigham and Women's Department of Psychiatry said: "When looking at changes in cognitive function, what we found is that the total amount of fat intake did not really matter, but the type of fat did."

The outcome of the study showed that women who admitted to eating high amounts of "bad fats" did not have as healthy of a cognitive function as the women who did not consume a lot of saturated fats. In contrast, the women who ate high amounts of monounsaturated fats had much healthier cognitive outcomes over a long period of time.

Examples of foods that are high in saturated fats include:

* Meat products, such as fatty beef, pork, lamb and poultry with skin

* Dairy products, such as cream, butter and cheese.

Examples of foods that are high in Monounsaturated fats include:

* Avocados/Guacamole

* Olive/Canola Oil

* Nuts

* Seeds

Okereke said:"Our findings have significant public health implications. Substituting in the good fat in place of the bat fat is a fairly simple dietary modification that could help prevent decline in memory."

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