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Canola Oil Not Healthy: May Worsen Memory and Learning Ability

canola oil damage brainIt is practically impossible to do without some form of cooking oil or ghee. But with the ever-rising rates in cardiovascular disease healthier cooking oils, made from healthy fats, are recommended by health care professionals worldwide. Of these, canola oil is perhaps the most popular. But is it healthy?

Because it is relatively cheap compared to other vegetable oils and said to be healthy, canola oil is one of the most widely consumed vegetable oils in the world. A recent study by Temple University researchers suggests that not only is canola oil not healthy and may actually be harmful, particularly to your brain.

Researchers at Temple University found that canola oil may decrease learning ability, inhibit memory, and even lead to weight gain.

Ironically, the researchers were actually seeking the benefits of canola oil on the brain when they came to these findings. This study was inspired by a previous study on olive oil, which showed that Alzheimer’s mice fed with extra virgin olive oil improved memory. The researchers sought to determine whether canola oil is similarly beneficial for the brain.

The researchers divided the study mice at six months of age into two groups, before the animals developed signs of Alzheimer’s disease. One group was fed a normal diet and the other a diet supplemented with the equivalent of two tablespoons of canola oil daily.

The animals were assessed for 12 months and maze tests used to assess working memory, short-term memory, and learning ability. Mice that were fed canola oil preformed poorly on all three areas. Not that but, the mice on canola were also found to be heavier than those not on the oil.

Changes in brain tissue were also noticed, details of which are beyond this post. Suffice it to say that the changes in mice on canola oil, in the words of the lead researcher, “resulted in considerable neuronal damage, decreased neural contacts, and memory impairment”.

More research needs to be done to determine whether the negative effects of canola are specific to Alzheimer’s. Or, whether the oil may affect the onset of and course of other neurodegenerative conditions. Plus, safe levels may also need to be determined.

You can read a more detailed post on this at MedicalXpress website.

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