Healthy adults should consume between 20 percent and 35 percent of their calories from dietary fat, increase their consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, and limit their intake of saturated and trans fats, according to a recently updated position paper from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The Academy recommends a food-based approach through a diet that includes regular consumption of fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
The Academy’s position paper can be translated into healthful eating messages for the public:
• A simple and effective way to improve health is to eat more fish, nuts and seeds and to consume fewer desserts and convenience foods.
• Fat is a critical nutrient, and certain types of fat, such as omega-3s and omega-6s, are needed for good health. For this and other health reasons, a fat-free diet is not recommended.
• Fish is an excellent source of the omega-3s EPA and DHA; flax, walnuts and canola oil are good sources of ALA omega-3.
• Both the amount of fat (how much) and the type of fat (what foods) in the diet can affect health and risk of disease.
• Different foods provide different types of fat. Some fats improve your health (omega-3s help your heart and brain) while some are detrimental to your health (trans fat increases heart disease risk factors).
A diet high in saturated fat and sugar has been documented to affect the hippocampus, that part of our brains responsible for managing short and long-term memory information as well as spatial awareness and navigation. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus region is the first to suffer damage that may result in memory loss and disorientation. New research confirms and provides evidence that diet-induced cognitive impairment precedes weight gain and obesity.1
The link to elevated blood glucose and cognitive problems has been well documented. High levels – less brain power. However, research is now finding that even elevated “subclinical” levels are problems. Further, in some research nutrients may help out.
Evidence shows that there is an association between type 2 diabetes and brain atrophy, cognitive impairment, and dementia is accumulating. However doctors are now concerned about the subclinical effects of high plasma glucose levels, even though these levels appear “within the normal range.” 2
As we reported earlier, a recent study used all the tools of medical science to show that elevation of certain nutrients namely omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C, D and E in blood plasma of older patients were related to better thinking abilities and a larger brain volume, as a recent study finds
People with a vitamin profile high in B, C, D, E, those particular nutrients seem to be working together on some level
Using Brain imaging and blood plasma tests to understand how nutrients alter brain structure, researchers writing in the medical journal Neurology say “people with a vitamin profile high in B, C, D, E, those particular nutrients seem to be working together on some level…Having high scores for those vitamins was associated with better cognitive function and larger brain volume.” Omega-3 was associated with the ability to do higher levels of complex or “executive” thought. 3
No surprise here. At the Magaziner Center for Wellness we monitor research that supports the use of nutriential and hormone supplementation for optimal brain health.
1. Davidson TL, Hargrave SL, Swithers SE, Sample CH, Fu X, Kinzig KP, Zheng W. Inter-relationships among diet, obesity and hippocampal-dependent cognitive function. Neuroscience. 2013 Dec 3;253:110-22. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.08.044. Epub 2013 Aug 30.
2. Cherbuin N, Sachdev P, Anstey K. Higher normal fasting plasma glucose is associated with hippocampal atrophy: the path study. – Neurology September 2012 Volume 79 Issue 10 Pages: 1019-1026
3. Bowman GL, Silbert LC, Howieson D. et al. Nutrient biomarker patterns, cognitive function, and MRI measures of brain aging. Neurology WNL.0b013e3182436598; published ahead of print December 28, 2011