The study looked at 6,183 older women participants and related intake of major fatty acids (saturated [SFA], monounsaturated [MUFA], total polyunsaturated [PUFA], trans-unsaturated) to late-life cognitive trajectory. Serial cognitive testing, conducted over 4 years, began 5 years after dietary assessment. Primary outcomes were global cognition (averaging tests of general cognition, verbal memory, and semantic fluency) and verbal memory (averaging tests of recall).
The Study concluded that Higher SFA intake was associated with worse global cognitive and verbal memory trajectories, whereas higher MUFA intake was related to better trajectories. Thus, different consumption levels of the major specific fat types, rather than total fat intake itself, appeared to influence cognitive aging.
Examples of foods containing MUFAs are avocados, olives, most nuts and seeds, especially macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts and sesame seeds and dark chocolate.