If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you know that the health of your BRAIN depends a lot on the food you put in your MOUTH.
Cooking fresh foods at home — rather than nuking a package or hitting the drive-thru — is one of the best ways to shield yourself from toxins in processed foods that can ravage your gray matter.
Of course, WHAT you cook makes a difference, too. A plate of salmon and veggies makes for much better “brain food” than a bowl of pasta.
But according to a new study, what you’re cooking WITH is equally important — because if your go-to oil in the kitchen is canola, you could be setting yourself up for a major brain drain.
I’m talking about Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study out of Temple University, baby mice were divided into two groups: Half were fed a standard diet, while the other half were fed the same diet supplemented with the equivalent of two tablespoons of canola oil daily.
Now, these weren’t just any old mice — they had been altered to simulate a model of Alzheimer’s disease in humans, which means their symptoms wouldn’t kick in until later in their lives.
At the end of six months, it turned out that the mice who’d been lapping up canola oil performed WORSE on tests of learning and memory than the mice who hadn’t eaten a drop of the stuff.
They also had an INCREASE in the plaques and tangles we typically see in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
That’s likely because their brains were swimming in a protein called amyloid beta, which, as you’ve read right here, is associated with the formation of these plaques and tangles in at least half the cases of seniors with mild cognitive impairment.
And their gray matter showed damage to key synapses — which are points where neurons come together — known to play a role in how we form and retrieve precious memories.
Translation: Consuming canola oil SPED UP their development of Alzheimer’s symptoms.
These results really don’t surprise me — because even though canola oil is peddled as one of the “healthiest” vegetable oils around, it’s actually a “Frankenfood” full of toxic JUNK.
It typically comes from genetically modified plants… is so highly processed that it contains artery-clogging trans fats… and often retains residues from toxic pesticides.
And even though canola oil does contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, it packs in twice as many omega-6 fatty acids. For optimal health, that ratio should actually be flipped!
Unfortunately, canola oil is ubiquitous in everything from salad dressings to butter “alternatives” to canned soups — so you’ve got to read labels carefully to avoid it.
But don’t worry, because there are oils that not only won’t HURT your brain… but will actually HELP it!
A better choice would be minimally processed extra-virgin olive oil, which studies show fights inflammation AND Alzheimer’s brain changes.
Avocado oil and grapeseed oil are also tasty choices with a bounty of benefits, and I always recommend my patients take an omega-3 supplement rich in both DHA and EPA as well.
It’s one of the most ancient trees on earth… it can live to be 1,000 years old… and it could help YOU live a longer and healthier life.
I’m talking about ginkgo biloba.
The fan-shaped leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for everything from aiding memory to fighting depression.
And now, according to the latest findings, we can add something else to that list — because ginkgo biloba appears to also improve brain function in those who’ve had a stroke.
In a new study out of China, over 300 people who’d already suffered a stroke were divided into two groups. Over the course of six months, half took a daily combination of ginkgo biloba and aspirin, while the other half took only the aspirin.
By the end of the study, it turned out that those taking ginkgo and aspirin scored HIGHER on tests of cognitive and language skills than those taking only aspirin.
Now, as you probably know, strokes happen when clots block blood flow to your brain, leading to damage in your gray matter.
All kinds of strokes — even so-called “mini-strokes” (a.k.a. transient ischemic attacks), as I shared with you this morning — can leave you with damage that’s bad enough to impair your memory and abilities to think and speak.
The theory is that ginkgo biloba can keep your brain sharp by guarding against the death of nerve cells and increasing blood flow to the arteries inside your noggin, as previous studies have shown it can do.
But ginkgo biloba’s healing potential isn’t just limited to your brain — because another new study shows that the Chinese herb may prevent colorectal cancer cells from spreading (a.k.a. “metastasizing”).
Taken together, these two new studies suggest that ginkgo biloba can help protect your health from the top of your head… to the “end” of your gut!
Even better, this ancient remedy has virtually no side effects.
You can easily find ginkgo biloba at your local drug store, health food emporium, or online.
Talk to a doc well versed in integrative medicine about the right dosage for you.
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