Everybody wants to have good cognition, memory. As more people are living longer there is a growing concern about impaired cognition with increasing age.
Researchers in Finland recently published a study where they had followed participants for an average of 21 years (Eskelinen MH, et al. 2008). The participants were evaluated in several ways for their cognitive abilities.
The investigators found that an abundant saturated fat intake from milk products and spreads at midlife was associated with poorer cognitive function and prospective memory. Prospective memory has to do with the ability of remembering to do something, such as meeting someone or bringing a certain document to the office.
Also interesting, was that high intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the fat from nuts, seeds, and vegetables, was associated with better semantic memory. Semantic memory is not related to a specific experience, but rather to the meaning and understanding of things, for example, a car is for transportation and is not an animal. Frequent fish consumption was associated with both better cognitive function and semantic memory. The researchers also found that a higher polyunsaturated fat to saturated fat ratio was associated with better psychomotor speed and executive function.
Cognition is another example of why it is important to increase the omega 3 fat intake and decrease ingestion of saturated fat.