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Saturated fat tied to mental & cognitive decline

High consumption of foods like red meat and butter raises the risk of mental decline.

By PressTV | 22 May 2012

People who frequently eat foods high in saturated fat such as butter and red meat are more likely to develop mental and cognitive decline which are early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In a 5 year study, published online in the Annals of Neurology, researchers analyzed dietary data from 6,000 women aged over 65 and tested their cognitive function to find any association.

The results demonstrated that women who frequently consumed more saturated fat scored worse on cognitive function tests at the end of the study than their counterparts who ate healthier types of fat.

Many studies have linked foods high in saturated fat such as red meat, fatty dairy foods like ice cream and whole milk to higher risk of developing clogged arteries and related conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

However, the new study by Harvard University researchers has provided more evidence to support the benefits of replacing unhealthy saturated fats with monounsaturated fats such as those found in olive oil, sunflower oil, seeds, avocados, and nuts.

“People will want to think about substituting out saturated fat in favor of monounsaturated foods,” said study author Dr. Olivia Okereke. “Making that substitution might be a way to prevent cognitive decline in older people.”

“In general, when it comes to dietary fat, the message has been pretty consistent over time that those dietary fats that are beneficial for cardiovascular health might similarly be beneficial for brain health,” she recommended.

"Our analysis suggests if you substitute out 5 percent of your saturated fat calories with 5 percent monounsaturated fats, you could have a 50 percent lower risk [of memory and cognitive decay].”



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