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Plant Fats are Linked to Intelligence

What do you know about Monounsaturated Fatty Acids?


MUFA’s, as they are sometimes called, are known to be good for your health in many ways.

• They can help lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol level which reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

• Eaten in place of unhealthy fats (saturated fats and trans fats), MUFAs may help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar.

• Monounsaturated fats help develop and maintain your cells. They are also rich in vitamin E - necessary for healthy vision, a healthy immune system, and other benefits.

A new study from the University of Illinois finds that monounsaturated fats are also linked to a more efficient brain network and improvement on general intelligence tests. Study participants with more MUFA’s in their blood also had a greater organization in a section of the brain known as the “dorsal attention network” which plays a central role in attention-demanding tasks and everyday problem solving.

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The study was recently published in the journal NeuroImage.

Monounsaturated fats are found in plant foods, such as nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils, including canola, olive, safflower and sunflower oils.

How can you add more MUFA’s to your diet? Here are some great ideas:
Eat nuts instead of cookies for a snack. (Watch portion sizes! Nuts are high in calories)
• Add avocado to salads and sandwiches.
• Replace butter and solid fats in recipes with olive or canola oil.

Journal Reference:
Marta K. Zamroziewicz, M. Tanveer Talukdar, Chris E. Zwilling, Aron K. Barbey. Nutritional status, brain network organization, and general intelligence. NeuroImage, 2017; 161: 241 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.08.043

Additional Reference:
Medline Plus

Photo Credit:
By Kjokkenutstyr - Avocado on Board - Flickr, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons