As we age, the fear of cognitive decline sets in. Whether you are young or old, one simple (and delicious) diet change may protect your brain from the effects of aging.
Most of us have heard that fat is no longer the devil we once thought it was and in many cases, it can actually be beneficial. According to Todd Caldecott, fat is the best food for your brain since 60% of it is indeed made of this nutrient1. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women older than 72 who were are a high risk of cardiovascular disease and ate mono- or polyunsaturated fats in place of carbohydrates had slower rates of cognitive decline—this equals 4-6 years delayed mental aging2.
Which fat is good fat?
Don’t get too excited—this is not to say that cupcakes, fries, and burgers are the way to go. These foods still contain sugar, refined carbs and rancid oils that increase inflammation in your body and brain, increasing your risk for these diseases.
Low-inflammatory fats such as coconut oil, butter, raw nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados, fish, and ghee prevent mental dysfunction1. Eat seed oils (canola, corn, safflower, sunflower) in moderation due to their tendency to go rancid quickly (too much rancid oil=inflammation=damage to your brain).
One last thing—in case you weren’t already interested, increasing your good fat intake can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer and not needing to go for that afternoon coffee and a chocolate bar. Fats for breakfast will keep you fuller for longer during the day, and wittier for longer in your life.
- Caldecott, T., 2014. Food as medicine: the theory and practice of food. USA.
- Vercambre, M-N., Grodstein, F., & Kang, J., 2010. Dietary fat intake in relation to cognitive change in high risk women with cardiovascular disease or vascular factors. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64. 21 July, pp 1134-1140.