Trans fat, also called trans-unsaturated fatty acids is an unhealthy component found in the food. It is created through the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. These are mainly found in fried foods, doughnuts, and baked products such as cakes, biscuits, cookies, and other products. Trans fats are considered the worst kind of fat because of their adverse effects on the health, especially the brain function as it is linked to worsening of memory in young men.
Trans fat can be of two types: Naturally-occurring, and artificial trans fat. Naturally-occurring trans fats are present in the foods made from some animals (such as milk and milk products). Artificial trans fats are created in an industrial process by adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils in order to make them solid.
According to the FDA(Food and Drug Administration), these fatty acids do not fall under the GRAS(Generally Recognized as Safe) food category. Many countries have scrapped the idea of using trans fat foods due to their negative effects on health. They are generally used by the food manufacturing industries to give a desirable taste to the food and because oils with trans fats can be used multiple times in the fryers. Another reason for the use of this product is that it’s quite inexpensive.
How Trans fat affects the brain?
“Trans fats were most strongly linked to worse memory in men during their high productivity years,” said Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, Ph.D., and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
There are three possible explanations of how trans fat can affect memory. One of the explanations is that it acts as a stressor on cells and can cause cellular destruction, which directly affects the memory function of the brain.
Trans fatty acids also increase inflammation in the brain which can interfere with hormone production and harm the memory.
The third explanation is that trans fats can prevent the production of Omega 3 which is an essential molecule for a healthy brain function.
“Our bodies even need a small amount of saturated fats to sustain them. But I tell people, do not consume anything with trans fats in them. This is a nutrient that's been nothing but negative." said Jim White, a nutrition expert in Virginia Beach, Va., and a spokesman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Eat to eidetic: Foods that can boost the memory:
1. Use fats that are good for the brain
Consumption of some fats can improve the overall health and boost the memory as well. Some of these fats are:
Monounsaturated Fats: These are found in Olive oil, sesame oil, peanut butter, nuts, and avocados. They are also good for maintaining an appropriate level of cholesterol.
Essential Fatty Acids(EFA): They mainly include Omega 3 and Omega 6. EFAs reduce inflammation, improve the mood, and strengthen the immune system. These acids can only be obtained through the consumption of food products like chicken eggs, green leaves, walnuts, fish oils, oysters, and shrimp.
Natural Saturated Fats: It is important to consume a certain level of saturated fats in the diet as they strengthen the brain cells. They are found in Coconut and palm oils, Egg yolks, butter, and cream.
2. Other foods that can help boost the brain function
Although, there isn’t just one food that can provide all the superpowers for an eidetic memory but paying attention to the food being consumed every day can assist in improving the memory and overall brain function. Most of these foods also help to prevent brain diseases like Alzheimers’ and dementia. Some of these foods are:-
Whole grains: The concentration power comes from an adequate supply of energy and whole grains are a good source of glucose that is released into the bloodstream and keep the mental power on a good level throughout the day.
Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of nutrients and vitamins like B6 and B12, and folic acid, which is all related to brain health. They reduce the levels of homocysteine in the body which helps in reducing the risk of stroke, cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Broccoli: It is a great source of Vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. It also contains Vitamin C and flavonoids which are antioxidants and can boost a person’s brain health.
Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate and cocoa include some brain-boosting compounds such as caffeine, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Apart from improving the mood, chocolate helps in slowing down the age-related mental decline.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds contain Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and higher consumption of these is linked to a better brain function, especially in older age. The highest amount of Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts.