Earlier this month the FDA finally did something right. There’s a new US ban on trans-fats. Hooray! And finally!
Trans fats entered our bodies and minds over a century ago, when German chemist Wilhelm Normann produced Crisco with Procter & Gamble.
And What A Gamble It Is
Dietary trans fatty acids (dTFA) allow foods a better taste, texture, and longer shelf life, but come with so many problems. dTFAs have been linked to negative effects on lipid profiles, metabolic function, insulin resistance, inflammation, and cardiac and general health.
“As I tell patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people” – Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
Dr. Golomb goes on to say that trans fats were strongly linked to behaviour, mood, and other pillars of proper brain function including memory. She says dTFAs were most strongly linked to worse memory in men 45 years old and younger. She calls this their “high productivity years.”
The researchers studied 1,018 men and women who completed dietary surveys and memory tests. It was seen that men 45 years and younger recalled 86 words, but with each additional gram of trans fats consumed daily, performance dropped by 0.76 words.
This means if dTFA intake levels were to stay as high as they’ve been, these men would be expected to recall 12 fewer words compared to men consuming no trans fats.
When they study was corrected for age, ethnicity, exercise, gender, and mood, it noted that men in the 45-and-younger range experienced the most dramatic dTFA-related memory loss. The study had so few women in it that researchers didn’t make any claims, but Golomb says including women in the analysis didn’t change a thing.
Now that companies are banned from preparing foods with artificially manufactured fats (dTFA) that lead to heart attack, stroke, memory loss, and worse, you can start rebuilding the damage these fake fats have done to your brain.
5 Brain-Smart Foods
1. Fish: salmon, mackerel, and tuna have all been associated with a healthy brain because of omega-3 fatty acids (which are GOOD fatty acids). This includes docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which is important for normal brain function.
2. Dark Leafy Greens: kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli are all great sources of vitamin E and folate which lower homocysteine amino acids levels. These amino acids trigger nerve cell death.
3. Oil-Based Salad Dressings: a great source of vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. Other great sources of vitamin E: seeds, nuts, whole grains, avocado (also a great source of vitamin C). 1oz of sunflower seeds will give you 30% of your daily recommended source.
4. Berries: blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries preserve your brain’s natural “housekeeper” mechanism.
5. Red Wine: alcohol in moderate amounts has actually been seen to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other brain-related health issues. Drinking red wine is also good for your heart; it is high in antioxidants and resveratrol which fight inflammation, lowers bad cholesterol, and prevents blood clots.
A healthy, holistic approach to eating shows benefits throughout the entire body. Whole grains reduce inflammation, oxidative stress, and high blood pressure, which helps promote healthy-brain activity as well.
I think I’ll enjoy a salmon with a nice chianti, and a spinach and strawberry salad (with oil-based dressing) and slivered sunflower seeds for dinner tonight. And because of the brain-boost, I’ll be able to remember how awesome it is tomorrow.