Food Choices Matter for Your Brain Health

By | May 19, 2013

“There is no magic pill that fixes a bad diet.” This rather direct advice comes from the lead investigator of a study on the balance of food intake containing Omega 6 & Omega 3 fatty acids, recently published in the PLOS ONE online scientific journal.

In general, Omega 3 sources like fish, beans, and green leafy vegetables are known to promote good cardiovascular and brain health, while too much Omega 6 from sources like corn oil, most fried foods, frozen processed foods, margarine, and peanuts is associated with unhealthy outcomes like diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.

The PLOS ONE study looked at what happens when Omega 3 supplements (fish oil pills) were added to the diets of mice who were consuming high amounts of Omega 6 fats that are common in western diets, especially from fast food outlets. It turns out that supplementing with “good” Omega 3 fats on top of high Omega 6 intake actually caused a number of mice to die from sepsis, a serious inflammatory condition brought on by severe infection. The study indicates that Omega 3 supplementation impairs Omega 6 infection-induced inflammatory responses, resulting in sepsis (at least in mice).

In other words, eating a bucket of fried chicken with a side of curly fries and potato salad with extra mayonnaise, and then trying to balance out this Omega 6 orgy with a couple of fish oil pills isn’t going to work, and may end up being harmful.

A better way is to focus on heart healthy and brain healthy foods, and limit intake of fast foods/ fried foods to a very occasional indulgence. Your brain will thank you.

See also: This is Your Brain on Fat and Sugar