Is Vegetable Oil a Risk Factor for Dementia?

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Taking care of yourself requires more than an annual visit with your doctor. People also need to know how their daily routines affect their health. Your diet may contain a common household pantry item that could cause dementia even if you only eat organic foods.

Many people believe vegetable oil is a risk factor for dementia based on several important factors. Consider how often your diet includes vegetable oil to determine if you should talk with your doctor about revising what you typically eat.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a complicated condition that affects people differently. Doctors define it as a loss of cognitive functioning that eventually lower’s a patient’s quality of life by interfering with their daily activities. Although some memory loss can be a normal result of aging, dementia erodes the mind’s ability to retain memories far beyond the occasional inconvenience.

There are also multiple forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, mixed dementia and frontotemporal dementia. The types vary by patient based on factors like their age and current presentation of protein plaques in the brain.

How Does Dementia Develop?

People can develop dementia in a few different ways. The first is genetic influence. If one person or multiple people in your family are diagnosed with the condition or pass away from it, it’s more likely to show up in that genetic line. 

Some experts within the field also believe dementia can develop as an unintended side effect of some medications. Vitamin deficiencies may also contribute, as well as untreated depression.

People should note that there isn’t a single proven cause of dementia. They must assess their risk based on the number of likely factors present in their lives.

What Are the Risks of Vegetable Oil?

How does vegetable oil enter conversations surrounding dementia? Some evidence may suggest it’s a potential influencing factor in future dementia diagnoses. It can also pose these other health risks for people of all ages.

How Vegetable Oil May Cause Dementia

People began talking about the connection between dementia and vegetable oil after the University of California Riverside published a study in January 2020. Their study found that vegetable oil influences genetic mutations in the brain, which directly affects genes involved in dementia and other diseases. Participants ate most of their vegetable oil through fast food meals and consumed more than the daily recommended amount — 5-7 teaspoons per day.

Older adults have many changing health concerns to keep in mind as the years pass. They may face new mobility issues, change their dental routine to combat gum and teeth problems, and even start new prescription medications as recommended by their doctor. Their diet may be the last thing on their minds, but people must consider if they’re at a higher risk of developing dementia.

Other Health Risks From Vegetable Oil

There are other reasons to monitor your vegetable oil intake as well. It can cause these other health risks that otherwise might not be a concern.

Inhaling Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Exhaust 

Climate change remains a global challenge, so people use new technologies to live greener lives. Biodiesel is one of those resources. It could replace fossil fuels to eliminate a significant source of carbon dioxide pollution, but it also has a side effect that people are beginning to fully realize.

Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) diesel creates exhaust that people breathe while standing by an idling car, sitting in traffic or walking through parking lots. A recent study found that when participants inhaled the exhaust long term, they developed a decrease in nasal patency that made it harder to breathe.

Developing Cancer Cells Faster

Amino acids are the powerful molecular base of vegetable oil. They can provide numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation, but it’s easy to eat too much and never realize it. If cancer cells develop in a person who eats too much vegetable oil regularly, the amino acids aid the cancerous growth. They could make the masses grow faster than they would otherwise.

Increasing Your Inflammation

Some people are more sensitive to fatty amino acids. Their bodies may respond with more cellular inflammation that results in symptoms like digestive problems, skin irritations or high blood pressure. Consuming more vegetable oil than recommended in your daily diet may make these symptoms more frequent and disrupt your quality of life.

Making Blood Clots More Likely

Amino acids affect the human body by interacting with it on a cellular level. When they contact the platelets in red and white blood cells, the person affected may be more likely to develop blood clots. Fatty acids can become antagonists for platelets and make them thicker, leading to arterial thrombosis if blood clots form in arteries.

Loose blood clots can also cause strokes. Anyone at a higher risk of dementia or strokes should talk with their doctor about limiting their vegetable oil intake.

How People Commonly Eat Vegetable Oil

You may wonder if vegetable oil is a risk factor for dementia in your life if you actively use it in recipes every day. Unfortunately, these are a few other ways it can appear in your diet.

In Your Baked Goods

Many baked goods require vegetable oil. It provides moisture to dry ingredients and helps bind them together. Foods like brownies, cakes, doughnuts and other pastries often contain vegetable oils for those purposes.

If you’re making them at home, you can usually swap the oil for sunflower seed oil or a combination of applesauce, mashed bananas or Greek yogurt.

In Your Fried Foods

Restaurants often fry their menu items in vegetable oil because it’s a budget-friendly product that doesn’t cause the same allergic reactions as peanut oil. Air frying is an excellent alternative for anyone looking to make fried foods at home without the added oil in their diet.

On Your Greased Pans

Before pouring batter into a pan, you might grease it with vegetable oil. Sprays and liquid forms still contain the amino acids that may contribute to some cases of dementia, so look for other greasing options like butter.

On Your Salads

Vegetable oil is a foundational ingredient in many salad dressings. Any dressing with a vinegar or oil base likely has it, but you can make dressings at home with olive oil instead. It has many natural health benefits without a heavy dose of amino acids.

Revise Your Diet as Needed

Engaging in exercises such as martial arts is a great way to improve memory if you’re worried about mental decay. Take note of the recent study published about vegetable oil when learning what foods cause dementia. It could be a primary influencer in your future health, so mention any potential concerns to your doctor. You can revise your diet as needed to protect your health with their guidance.

Beth, the Managing Editor at Body+Mind, is well-respected in the fitness and nutrition spaces. In her spare time, Beth enjoys going for runs and cooking.

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