March is National Nutrition Month: Food and Brain Function.

Most of us know that what we eat affects our health. So to highlight National Nutrition Month, we are going to focus this blog post on how our food choices can affect our brain function.

There is evidence that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is not only bad for your heart but impacts the brain. Saturated fat raises the LDL in your blood. Some categories of food that are high in saturated fats are red meat and dairy products.

People with high levels of LDL cholesterol can damage their arteries. There is some evidence that LDL might also form plagues in the brain. The sticky plague which forms protein cluster in the brain are tied to damage that occurs in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. However, not all foods with LDL are proven bad for brain function. There is a study that shows moderate egg intake doesn’t increase memory disorders. Eggs have had a bad reputation of having high cholesterol, especially the yoke, hence the increased popularity of egg whites.

So what can individuals due to lower their LDL blood levels?

  1. Moderation is key. Don’t eat read meat every day. Try to limit it to a few times a month.
  2. Eat fish and poultry more frequently. The omega 3 fatty acid in fish are also found in the brain and may support cognitive performance.
  3. Use heart healthy oils like olive oil instead of butter
  4. Focus on plant-based foods; fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and legumes are some options.

We recommend you make small changes to adjust your eating habits over time. If you try to change too many habits too quickly you may be successful initially but could fail in the long run. Remember, limiting cholesterol is not only good for your heart but may support your cognitive function. Happy healthy eating!