Canola oil has generally been considered a “healthy” oil with its effect on heart-health being quite respectable. As a result, canola oil consumption has increased over the years. It has a lower cost compared with olive oil, and there is the perception that it shares olive oil’s health benefits. Yet, while recent studies have found positive links between olive oil and a healthy brain function, a more recent study on canola oil has found just the opposite.

Canola Oil and Its Effect on Brain Health and Weight Management

Researchers in Pennsylvania recently evaluated the effect canola oil had on the brains of mice that were genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer’s disease. At the end of the six month experiment, the mice that had eaten canola oil showed significant declines in working memory. Researchers also saw that the mice that ate food with canola oil had gained significant weight over those that did not.

The same researchers used a similar model to evaluate the effects of olive oil. In that study, neither mouse group was heavier than the other, and the mice that ate extra-virgin olive oil enriched food performed much better with memory testing and their ability to learn.

Healthy Fats for Brain Health

Healthy fat is an essential component of the structure of your brain. A person needs high-quality, undamaged omega-3s and omega-6 to maintain optimal brain function, not the highly damaged fats found in processed vegetable oils like canola oil. Most canola oil is produced from genetically engineered seeds, using plants that were originally unfit for human consumption. These seeds are taken through a process that injects multiple chemicals and bleaches to make the processed end product edible.

Canola oil has been found to decrease the production of a protein that protects your brain against neuronal damage and cognitive impairment, which may increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. So if not canola oil, then what? Healthier options for cooking include pastured, organic butter, virgin coconut oil, ghee and lard. While olive oil and sesame oil add flavor and healthy fats to your foods, they have very low smoke points. Use these unheated oils in salad dressings or drizzled over meats or vegetables.

BrainSpan Testing at Bio-Wellness by Dr. Greg

It’s never too late to enhance and support your brain health. BrainSpan is the only nutritional and functional cell and brain health assessment, and is available at Bio-Wellness by Dr. Greg. The BrainSpan test will determine your current baseline. Then, if needed, measures can be taken to change your future brain health trajectory. The BrainSpan report gives specific recommendations based upon your outcome scores. Retesting in 3-4 months will show your progress. Contact the office at 410-876-8885 during the month of January and receive your BrainSpan Assessment Test Kit and follow-up appointment for just $124 (save $25).