There’s no way to stop the aging process, but you can take steps to help slow it down, especially when it comes to your brain. That was the message Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS was sharing when he appeared on Portland’s AM Northwest. The board certified nutritionist is the author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth and, his new book, Smart Fat. When asked if people should be concerned about their family history of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, Bowden emphatically said, “absolutely.” He then explained how careful diet choices may help preserve your vigor. For example, palm oil nutrients support brain health. We were honored when animal-loving Bowden suggested using Malaysian sustainable palm oil due our environmental-friendly practices.

Bowden stressed the importance of minimizing inflammation in the body. “This isn’t just for the brain. This is for our health in general,” he said agreeing with a Time Magazine article that referred to this bodily process as the silent killer. “Inflammation is the number one promoter of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes and obesity,” he explained. “The trick is to keep it under control. And you do that with anti-inflammatory foods.”

He suggested swapping your cooking oil for a healthier oil. For years, people have been told to use vegetable oils such as corn safflower, sunflower and canola for cooking. “These are highly inflammatory oils,” Bowden said. “I suggest switching to healthy saturated fats.”

Saturated fats were once connected to heart disease risk, but research now debunks this association. “Start using oils such as coconut oil and Malaysian palm oil,” said Bowden, pointing to a bottle of red palm oil. “This is one of my favorites, particularly for brain health. See that red color? It’s from the carotenoids.” Unlike other common cooking oils, red palm oil is rich with beta carotene. “The other thing about sustainable Malaysian palm oil is that it contains tocotrienols. These help protect the brain after a stroke,” said Bowden.
All palm oils, however, are not produced the same. In some countries, oil palm plantations –  palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree – have caused deforestation which have degraded orangutan habitat. “Not so in Malaysia,” said Bowden, “because they are so protective.”

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