When heart attacks and heart disease became a widely discussed top and growing concern in the 1960s, most Americans tried to make a switch to healthier lifestyle by swapping out their cream, butter and saturated fats for vegetable oils. But many medical experts feel that they actually made a serious mistake.
Research shows that regular consumption of vegetable oils can cause plaque buildup in the brain that can ultimately lead to fatigue, dementia and even migraines. In fact, this plaque build-up is well known precursor to many neurodegenerative diseases, and while some other oils also carry this trait, vegetable oils are the type with which it is more prevalent.
“Intake of vegetable oils causes acute oxidative stress, which damages most of the brain membranes and results in plaque building up on the brain,” Dr. Catherine Shanahan, author of the interesting book Deep Nutrition: Why your Genes Need Traditional Food, told MailOnline. “We’ve seen in extensive research in patients with Alzheimer’s disease where biopsy part of the brain shows plaque build up.”
Why Vegetable Oils Are So Dangerous?
Shanahan believes the real problem stems from when vegetable oils-such as palm, canola, and corn-are heated to high temperatures for cooking. Many of them are unstable at high temperatures and release dangerous compounds that finally break down in to toxic aldehyde, which has been directly linked to various health conditions, including cancer risk.
A study in 2001 found that cooking vegetable oil for 15 minutes released 22 times the amount of aldehyde that’s branded safe by WHO (World Health Organization). Another report in 2007 found that heating palm oil at 410 degrees Fahrenheit or higher triggered this oil to release many toxins. Research shows that many vegetable oils are also linked to antioxidant depletion and heart disease. These fats may also strip the body of many antioxidants because they oxidize easily and may cause inflammation and mutation in cells.
The way these vegetable oils are processed before they finally hit the store shelves is also a big issue. Most of them are stripped of all antioxidants, which directly affect the balance of free radicals present in the oil. Presence of free radicals in the body promotes diseases.
How These Vegetable Oil Affect The Brain?
While some vegetable oils can damage your body, this new research specifically studies their effects on the brain. Vegetable oils are often promoted as something that promote health because they contain Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. But in a separate study it was found that because some vegetable oils are so rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, once they are consumed, they in turn may drain out the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in the brain.
“If you consume too much of sunflower oil or corn oil, the brain is actually absorbing too much of Omega-6, and this may effectively force out most of the Omega-3,” said Professor Marvin Stein, Oxford University’s Emeritus Professor of Neuroscience. “I believe that lack of Omega-3 is definitely the biggest contributory factor to problems such as dyslexia and mental health issues.
According to Shanahan, if you regularly consume vegetable oil, it can lead to some short-term side effects such as difficulty concentrating and lethargy.
“Oxidative stress may disrupt the functioning of brain, so the cells may fail to do the necessary housekeeping,” continues Shanahan, current director of Los Angeles Laker’s basketball nutrition program and former nutritionist to Kobe Bryant. This cell disruption may lead to a buildup of plaque in the brain.
All those who include vegetable oils as a regular part of their diet may experience brain fatigue and fog. “The number 1 symptom someone would feel is migraines,” says Shanahan. “Often people fail to realize how poorly they’re thinking until they are completely off this stuff”
Plant-Based Oils- They Are Best for Diet
Plant fat-based oils like coconut, olive, peanut and avocado are the best ones for cooking purpose. Tests conducted on them have found that when they are heated up the naturally produce less aldehydes; the oil that produces least amounts was coconut. Many health experts believe even lard and butter is okay, but its best to use them in moderation.
Registered dietician and Mount Sinai Hospital Diabetes Program Manager Elena Maria Rodriguez warns that some plant based oils-namely butter and coconut oil-are slightly high in saturated fats. So it’s not best to use them as full-blow replacement especially depending upon your specific health circumstance.
“Saturated fat poses a much higher risk of plaque, diabetes, heart disease, and inflammation,” Rodriguez told the New York Post.
But Shanahan firmly sticks by the research she’s assembled for her coming book. She believes that with plant-based, heart-healthy oil choices available, there’s no need to put your health at risk when doing something as natural as cooking at your home.
“ Indeed I would say when you’re preparing your food choose oils that have some flavor, such as peanut or coconut, and then make sure they are unrefined,” she says. “Why not go with a much healthier, tastier fat?”