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More on Fats

Posted Oct 23 2008 9:03pm

Without getting a degree in chemistry, you can learn that saturated fats come from meat, whole milk, butter and cheese. Other brain-busting fats are hydrogenated vegetable oils and trans-fatty acids such as margarine, mayonnaise, and processed food, and omega-6 vegetable oils such as corn, safflower and sunflower oils.

The best fat that is good for your brain is the omega-3 type found in seafood and fatty fish, or taken as a fish oil supplement.

The more years you consistently eat a high animal fat diet, the more severe the risk of loosing your brain power. The danger comes from a long-time pattern of a high saturated fat diet. An occasional hot-fudge sundae splurge is not likely to be detrimental.

A study by Richard Mayeux and colleagues at Columbia University showed that people over age 65 who had diets high in animal fat were 5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who ate the least animal fat.

Americans typically eat 15 times more potentially brain-destructive type oils than we do brain-building omega-3 fish-type oils.

Fish oils seem to influence mood and behavior by boosting brain levels of the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. People with low levels of serotonin are depressed and experience mood disorders.

Globally, those people who skimp on fish have the highest incidences of both depression and heart disease. The fat in fish can protect arteries from clogging and prevents heart disease as well.

How much fish oil? An expert recommends at least 650 milligrams a day of long-chain omega-3s. That’s only 1 3/4 ounces of fresh salmon, 3 ½ ounces of tuna, or 1 ½ ounces of canned sardines. Not much really, but of course you have to like fish.  Otherwise, there are plenty of fish oil capsules on the market.

Most of the common brands of fish oil capsules I've seen at the supermarkets, pharmacy and health food stores contain 1000 mg, which means that one a day keeps brain deterioration away.

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