If you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, new research is saying you should cut back on saturated fats and eat more monounsaturated fats.
Researchers at Harvard University found that women who eat a lot of saturated fat – found in fatty cuts of meat, full cream milk, butter and deep fried food – are more likely to have impaired memory.
In contrast, those who eat more monounsaturated fats – found in things like olive oil, nuts and avocado – have better memories.
In the study, 6183 women over the age of 65 were asked to fill out detailed diet questionnaires. Over the next four years, they were tested for cognitive function three times.
The women who consumed the highest amount of saturated fats had the worst brain function and memory, while those who ate more monounsaturated fats scored higher in the cognitive tests.
"When looking at changes in cognitive function, what we found is that the total amount of fat intake did not really matter, but the type of fat did," explains Dr Olivia Okereke, from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
"Substituting in the good fat in place of the bad fat is a fairly simple dietary modification that could help prevent decline in memory.”
Subtle declines in cognitive function can lead to a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.