People who have a diet high in saturated fats and eat large amounts of the biggest offenders (such as red meat and full-fat butter) could be increasing their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston discovered people – in particular older women – who enjoy a diet rich in animal fats, suffer from worse cognitive function and memory compared to those who eat ‘healthy’ monounsaturated fats.
The four-year study of over 6,000 women aged 65 and over, questioned the participants about their diet and lifestyle and followed this up with a series of mental tests.
The study suggests the type of fats you consume (and how much) can play a part in mental deterioration.
"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,” said Dr Olivia Okereke, from the study, according to a blog for CommonHealth
“If people substitute out portions of saturated fat and replace it with the same amounts of monounsaturated fat, like substituting olive oil in place of butter, it’s a simple dietary modification that could prevent decline in memory,” she said.
“It’s long been known that overall cardiovascular health is good for cognitive function,” adds Dr Okereke. “So it makes sense the same factors that are good for cardiovascular health would also be good for cognitive function.”
Although saturated fats could raise your risk of dementia, a separate study has discovered that the scent of fatty foods – such as fish 'n' chips - could help treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia sufferers often forget to eat regularly, which doesn't help their battle against cognitive decline.
To help alleviate this problem, a design company called Rodd has created a plug-in device called Ode that sends out bursts of foodie aromas, which helps stimulate Alzheimer’s patients’ appetites and spark their memories.
The clever creation was designed as part of a competition run by the Design Council and the Department of Health who appealed to designers to create something that could make dementia sufferers lives easier.
“It releases authentic, high-quality food aromas at particular times in the day to help stimulate appetite and as an aid to rekindle an interest in eating – discreetly and unobtrusively,” states the Ode website.
Find out which other health benefits certain smell can have on the body, as discovered by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation...
According to researchers from the <a href="http://www.smellandtaste.org/?action=home.main" target="_hplink">Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation</a>, pumpkin pie, lavender, cinnamon and freshly baked doughnuts boost a man's sexual libido (around 40% increase in penile blood flow was reported).
According to the <a href="http://www.smellandtaste.org/?action=research&load_popup#popup5" target="_hplink">Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation</a>, 50 migraine sufferers reported a significant reduction in chronic headache attacks after inhaling green apple aroma.
Another study by the <a href="http://www.smellandtaste.org/?action=research&load_popup#popup5" target="_hplink">Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation</a> discovered that jasmine aromas enhance 'reaction time' and alertness of something being dropped on the floor. The smell of charcoaled meat fared the worse scent for increasing reaction alertness.
A previous study by <a href="http://www.smellandtaste.org/?action=research&load_popup#popup5" target="_hplink">Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation</a> found that the scent of freshly brewed coffee enhances our time perception. They tested this theory on 20 participants, who all reported a heighten sense of time after being placed in a room without clocks.