Japanese Butterfish (Medai) Nigiri Sushi

The Sushi

The Fish

Saturated Fats May Hasten Mental Decline

What’s good for the heart is good for the brain, the medical thinking goes.

Here’s the latest twist: What’s bad for the heart turns out to be bad for the brain. Put another way, some fats may make us stupider — or at least less cognitively on the ball.

Amid growing evidence that what we eat has a profound impact on brain function, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women who consumed the highest amounts of saturated fat — which can come from animal fats like red meat and butter — had worse overall cognitive function and memory over four years of testing compared to women who ate the lowest amounts of such fats. Moreover, women who consumed the most monounsaturated fats — think olive oil — scored better on the cognitive function tests over time.

(Trans-fats found in processed and baked goods — like those ginormous muffins they used to sell at the corner deli — are also considered “bad” but in this particular study, they weren’t associated with declines in cognitive ability.)

To be clear, this latest research doesn’t mean that if you start cooking with olive oil instead of butter you’ll suddenly be able to locate your car keys or remember your mother-in-law’s birthday.

But it does strongly suggest that the type of fat you eat matters, and overall, certain so-called bad fats can undermine all kinds of cognitive function as well as short and long-term memory as you age, says Dr. Olivia Okereke, the study’s lead author and a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s. The research, which evaluated 6,000 women over 65, a subset of the larger Women’s Health Study, was published online in the medical journal Annals of Neurology.


Braised Deep-fried Tofu and Vegetables


8 pieces deep-fried tofu
100 g fresh shiitake mushroom
1 piece snow ear fungus
40 g cloud ear fungus
20 g tiger lilies
2 tbsp cornstarch


2 tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup water


  1. Cut each tofu into two halves. Blanch briefly in boiling water.
  2. Cut mushroom into slices.
  3. Soak snow ear fungus, cloud ear fungus and tiger lilies until softened. Rinse and drain. Tie tiger lilies in knots. Tear fungi in pieces.
  4. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl.
  5. Heat some oil in a pot. Sauté mushroom, fungi and tiger lilies. Add tofu and sauce. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes.
  6. Mix cornstarch with 2 tbsp water. Stir into the sauce. Turn off heat when sauce thickens. Serve hot.

Source: Hong Kong magazine

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