Issue: 12

January 2011


Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo with HealthCare Insights, LLC


Greetings Friends!

We hope that everyone had a great holiday and was able to keep warm and brain healthy.  As New Years is now past hopefully one of your resolutions is to become more brain healthy.  Let us show you how to start this new years off right!

Eager to become brain healthy but not sure where to start?  Subscribing to this newsletter is a great start!  In this newsletter we’re going to be discussing brain healthy fats and show you what fats to embrace and which ones to avoid.

We also have a list of events where I will be speaking in person! In these events you’ll learn facts and ideas on how to change your whole lifestyle and become brain healthy. There is always time at the end for Q & A, so check out the events to find one near you.

The “added special attraction” this month is announcing a wonderful new book….by one proud mother’s son! :  Nicholas Emerson Lombardo’s “The Logic of Desire: St. Thomas Aquinas on Emotion.”  This, his first book, has already won a prestigious international award  in collaboration with Heidelberg University, the 2011 John Templeton Award for Theological Promise.

Nicholas and I share an interest in spiritual matters…and his interest  is his career!  A Dominican priest, Nicholas Lombardo, O.P., received his Doctorate in Theology on November 27, 2010 from Cambridge University, England (in absentia, the day after performing marriage rites for his sister, my lovely daughter, Maryanne nee Lombardo now Mrs. Thomas Speroni) in Rome, Italy.    A big week for our family!

Dr. Nicholas Lombardo has just been offered a Asst. Prof. position at Catholic University in Washington DC, which inside sources suggest he is planning to accept.

So why not check out this award winning book!  Read on!


Which Fats Are Essential for Brain Power and Life?

© 2011 HCI


by Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD, Cheryl Franchi, RD, CSG, LD, FADA, Kristina  Scangas and Samantha Turner

Consumer Guideline Tip for January 2011:

“Favorite Fats!  Eat healthier fats such as Omega 3’s, and monounsaturated fats such as in olive oil and avocados (a great brain food!).  Use olive oil and canola oil for most of your cooking needs. Avoid transfats (partially hydrogenated oils) and reduce intake of saturated fats…emphasizing plant foods will help this strategy succeed.”

In our November and December newsletters, we reviewed the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids for our good health and well-being, identified food sources of this key nutrient; and shared some wonderful recipes to help you include these “superfoods” in your diet.  This month we discuss the other healthy “favorite” fats, and introduce the unhealthy ones we’ll detail in February.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat and, as we learned, an essential component of a brain healthy diet. There are actually several types of fats in our diet, and it’s important to understand what they are, how they affect our health, and what we should include in our diets to optimize our health (including brain health!), and help reduce our risk for developing many chronic conditions.
Part of our effort here is to dispel the myth that all fats are bad, and that all “fat-free” foods are good.
In the not-so-distant past, fat intake was greatly discouraged, and there were those who recommended severely limiting total fat intake. This advice was based on studies indicating diets too high in fat, especially certain types of fat, would increase the risk for several chronic conditions, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain types of cancers, as well as cognitive decline.


What are some health benefits of fats?

Fortunately it’s almost impossible to remove fat completely from our diets, since it would be unhealthy to do so. Contrary to what many people think, fats are a key nutrient in our diet, are key components of every brain and body cell, and are essential to many functions in the body. For example, fats play a vital role in maintaining healthy hair and skin, help maintain body temperature, insulate organs in our body against shock, and, at 9 calories per gram, fats provide a significant source of calories that can be used as a source of energy. Additionally, they help the body to absorb and distribute the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and carotenoids. Furthermore, fatty acids are an integral component of cell membrane structure and help to maintain healthy cell function in the brain and body. We couldn’t think, feel, move or live without fat!


Another benefit of including some fat in the diet is that it adds flavor, and, because fat takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and proteins, it helps to satisfy hunger by making you feel full for a longer period of time. Further, fat content in foods help slow the absorption of unrefined sugars and carbs, giving your body (and anti-oxidants you hopefully also consumed) a better chance of dealing with these unhealthy foods.


High caloric content of fat!

Caution: Fats do provide a concentrated source of calories (120 calories per tablespoon!), thus we must choose our fats wisely, to avoid excessive calorie intake, which can have adverse health effects e.g. through weight gain.


Why does the TYPE of fat I eat matter so dramatically?

The type of fat you eat is just as important as the total amount of fat in your diet. Evidence suggests that different types of fats have different effects on health. When consumed in moderate amounts, some fats offer health-protective benefits.

There are three main types of fats: saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.

Fats are made of varying combinations of fatty acids, and may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure and composition. Some fats are saturated (harder at room temperature) while others are unsaturated (liquid at room temperature).

What are the less healthy types of fats?

Saturated and trans fats are the less healthy kinds of fats that you should try to limit in your diet. These fats can increase your risk of heart disease by increasing your total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.  One reason eating more plant foods and fewer animal foods helps us obtain healthier fat balances is that PLANT FOODS CONTAIN NO CHOLESTEROL!!!

See our February edition for more information on saturated fats and trans fats  and
And the healthy “favorite” fats?
In contrast, the unsaturated fats can have beneficial effects on health when consumed in moderation and as part of an overall balanced diet. There are two types of unsaturated fatty acids, monounsaturated (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated (PUFAs). The essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are types of polyunsaturated fats.

Both MUFAs and PUFAs provide health benefits by lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats have the additional benefit of maintaining, and perhapsincreasing levels of HDL (the good cholesterol). Evidence is building that diets rich in mono-unsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean Diet, are brain healthy.

Which foods are sources of monounsaturated fats?
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are avocadoes, plant oils such as canola, olive, and peanut oils, and a variety of nuts and nut butters including almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts (filberts), macadamia nuts, and peanuts.

What is an “essential fatty acid?”

Fatty acids that your body can’t make are considered “essential” (EFA stands for”essential fatty acid”. That means we must consume them in our diets to maintain good health. As we learned in previous articles, there are 2 basic EFA’s, both plant based: alpha-linolenic acid (an Omega-3 fatty acid), and linoleic acid (an Omega-6 fatty acid). Our bodies can build the longer chain Omega 3’s that actually comprise parts of our brains and body cells, EPA and DHA, which we wrote about in the last two articles/newsletters, although it is more reliable to get EPA and DHA directly from fish, seafood, and fish or other marine oils (calamari, algae).
While both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for the body, there is an ideal ratio of Omega-3’s to Omega-6’s that must be maintained for optimal health. That ideal ratio is what our cave dwelling ancestors experienced based on archeological evidence:  4 to 1 units of Omega 6’s for every unit of Omega 3’s. Today most American’s consume a greatly imbalanced ratio of 20 to 30 units of Omega 6’s for every unit of Omega’s 3’s.  Many scientists believe this imbalance is one of the key factors behind many chronic diseases afflicting our citizens.

Omega-6 fatty acids tend to be more widely available in foods, including vegetable oils, shortenings, nuts, meats, salad dressings, margarines and processed foods in general, in grains, and in many animal foods.  Omega 3’s are present in green leafy vegetables, in a few nuts (walnuts) and seeds (flax and chia), and in fish, seafood and grass/vegetation fed animals (see December issue).


The imbalance of Omega 6’s and 3’s is very harmful to the brain and body for multiple reasons. First and foremost, Omega 6’s are pro-inflammatory while Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory. Having an excess of Omega 6’s, or deficiency in Omega 3’s, results in inflammation throughout the body and brain.  Furthermore, excess Omega 6’s, especially from animal sources, has been linked to a buildup of excess arachidonic acid in the brain, especially the hippocampus, which in response shrinks or atrophies. [reference: Sanchez-Mejia et. al. Phospholipase A2 reduction ameliorates cognitive deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Neuroscience 2008 11(11): 1311-1318. ]

For sources of Omega 3’s, see our December newsletter articles.

Choosing a variety of foods that contain these EFA’s, in the right balance, is the key to helping to moderate the inflammatory process, which has been linked to many chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and cognitive decline, and specifically, Alzheimer’s disease.


Beware “Fat-Free” Foods

Many food manufacturers have developed “fat-free” products such as cookies, cakes, snack foods, salad dressings and other food products that, although devoid of fat, often contain significantly greater amounts of calories, sugar, sodium, preservatives, additives and other ingredients that are not beneficial to our health. In fact, despite the widespread availability and ingestion of these products, the incidence of obesity has continued to rise to epidemic proportions, and this is a major risk factor in the development of the adverse health conditions listed above. The MPN™ program does not encourage the use of “fat-free” products. Instead, focus on eating healthy fats and reducing consumption of sugar, salt, food additives. The unhealthy saturated fats and avoid transfats altogether.

How Much of Which Kinds of Fats Should I Eat?

All fats, even if they are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, are high in calories. Fat contains nine calories per gram (a measure of weight). In comparison, protein and carbohydrates only contain four calories per gram.
So remember, when it comes to fats, the key to maintaining optimal health is eating the right types in moderate amounts.

Limit total fat intake to 20 to 35 percent of daily calories for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.  This amounts to about 44 to 78 grams of total fat a day.
Of this, no more than 16 grams should be saturated fats. About half of the remaining 14-32 calories should be comprised of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and at least 4 to 8 grams of Omega 3’s daily (from vegetables, seed/nut and fish/seafood/seaweed sources).
For a 1,500 calories diet, get between 25 percent and 35 percent of calories from fat, primarily the healthy unsaturated (MUFAs and PUFAs) fats found in plant oils, fatty fish, nuts and avocados. This means about 375 to 525 fat calories daily, or because one gram of fat contains nine calories, 42 to 58 total grams of fat.   (American Heart Association)

For all diets, try to skip all foods containing trans fats.




Frail elderly persons are often DEFICIENT in fat (and other nutrients). © 2011 HCI
There are additional reasons why older persons, and those serving them, should avoid “fat-free” products, and be thoughtful about teach person’s individual nutritional needs.

“While fat restriction is beneficial for the elderly who are fit and well, it is contraindicated in the elderly who are frail, above the age of 75, have difficulty consuming adequate nutrition and calories due to a poor appetite, and/or those who have suffered weight loss. In fact, in these situations, it is recommended to use additional fat to increase the calories in meals and snacks and to aid weight gain.”   (Source: Suha Khoury, RD, is a dietitian who is registered with the American Dietetic Association and a Diabetes Educator. She works as a Medical Nutrition Therapist at Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem).

The American Council on Science and Health agrees, “To prevent weight loss (frail older adults) may need to ingest fat at levels above those generally recommended.”


The  Memory Preservation Nutrition program recommends that these extra fat calories should be concentrated in the O

mega-3’s and Mono-unsaturated fats as explained above. In addition to concerns about sufficient calories, protein and fats, it is critically important that nutrient intense foods be included that feature the plant nutrients rich in anti-oxidants and other phyto-nutrients essential to brain and body health. Herbs, spices, berries and berry juices, whole grains, beans, lentils and nuts, vitamins B complex, D, E* (with all 8 mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols) along with the recommended food sources of the “favorite fats,” are good examples of brain healthy nutrient intense foods.


Research findings suggest that unintended weight loss is dangerous for older persons and is often one of the first signs of cognitive decline or dementia. Poor nutrition is also linked to more rapid decline in persons with MCI, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
*Looking for a Vitamin E supplement with all 8 essential tocopherols and tocotrienols?  Go to our website and look for the E Gems Elite.  Great source of Vitamin E with all 8 parts as nature provides and our brains need!



Our Website experiencing technical difficulties which makes it slow to upload information and you have to personally refresh the website or shopping cart in order to see in the cart what you have chosen to purchase.  The site is secure and your purchase will be recorded correctly by Paypal; but if all this is just too cumbersome, just email Dr. Emerson Lombardo directly and tell her what you are interested in purchasing or asking questions about and she’ll get back to you by email or otherwise.

Save 20% on any nutritional supplements ordered on-line in January and February 2011
Go to our website:

Offer Expires: February 28th, 2011


Public invited to presentations by Dr. Emerson Lombardo on Feb 9th, 15th, 17th, 22nd and 24th and March 24th and April 6th and 27th 2011.
See Dr. Emerson Lombardo in Person!


Feb 9th, 2011: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain
This free event will be held in Methuen, MA at Methuen Senior Activity Center, 77 Lowell St, Methuen MA 01844.  RSVP to Sue Foster at Senior Center tel. 978-983-8825.  This event runs from 10:00-11:30am. This event is sponsored by Methuen Village at Riverwalk Park. Brain healthy muffins will be served.  Check out the events page at


Feb 9th, 2011: Make & Eat Brain Healthy Mediterranean Appetizers        This free event will be held in Methuen, MA at Methuen Village at Riverwalk Park, 4 Gleason St, Methuen MA 01844. This event runs from 5:30-6:30. Join Kathleen Corey Rahme, Director of Social Programming and her friend, Christine Ryan for a cooking demonstration. They will show you how to make hummus and a lentil salad. Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo will also be present to explain why these foods are brain and body healthy. There will be a tasting too! Space is limited. RSVP to Kathleen or the receptionist at Methuen Village 978-685-2220 or Check out the events page at

Feb 15th, 2011: Food for Thought: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain
This free event will be held in Danvers, MA at Putnam Farms in Danvers, 9 Summer Street, Danvers MA, 01923. This event runs from 5:00-7:00pm. Brain healthy refreshments will be available at 5:00pm with presentation starting at 5:30pm. RSVP Putnam Farms tel.(978) 774-5959.  Check out the events page at

Feb 17th, 2011: Brain Healthy Nutrition
This free event is part of the regular meeting of the Healthcare Disparities Coalition which will be held in Roxbury, MA at the Twelfth Baptist Church, 150 Warren St, Roxbury MA 02119. This event starts at 11:00am. Visitors welcome. Please RSVP with Richard Roy 617-296-0849 at  Check out the events page at

Feb 22nd, 2011: Highlights of Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Woburn, MA at Woburn Senior Center-COA, 144 School Street, Woburn, MA 01801.  This event starts at 3:00pm sharp where Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo will be a featured speaker. Please RSVP to Hilary Viola at or (781) 221-7060. Check out the events page at

February 24th, 2011: Food For Thought: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain
This free event will be held in Avon, CT at River Ridge at Avon, 101 Bickford Extension, Avon CT 06001. This event runs from 5:00-7:00pm.  Brain healthy refreshments will be available at 5:00pm with presentation starting at 5:30pm.
RSVP to River Ridge, tel.  860-677-2155.   Check out the events page at

March 24th, 2011: Brain Healthy Nutrition
This free event will be held in Framingham, MA at Callahan Senior Center, 535 Union Ave, Framingham, MA 01702. This event starts at 11:00am. Registration is free and there will be a free lunch available.  This event is sponsored by Compass at Golden Pond and the Metrowest Alzheimer’s Partnership. RSVP Leanna Moran –    Check out the events page at

April 6th, 2011: Food For Thought: Brain Healthy Eating
This free event will be held in Jamaica Plain, MA at the Springhouse Retirement Community, 44-46 Allandale Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. This event starts at 8:00am and will go until 9:00am.  Open to the public and will be held in the Main Street room.  Please RSVP to Springhouse Retirement Community, Karen Pollack 617-971-1678 or Check out the events page at
April 27th, 2011: Healthy Eating for a Healthy Brain

This free event will be held in Leominster, MA at Fidelity Bank, 9 Leominster Connector, Leominster MA 01453.  This event starts at 9:00 and Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo will be speaking from 9:00am-10:30am and is open to the public. RSVP with Julie McMurray at or 508-799-2386. Please check out the events page at



Featured Book for This Month:
The Logic of Desire: St. Thomas Aquinas on Emotion

by Nicholas E. Lombardo


Interested in Buying this book? Go to The Catholic University of America Press  Here is what CUAP has to say about this book:


When Thomas Aquinas completed his Treatise on the Passions, it was likely the longest sustained discussion of the emotions ever written. His influence on medieval and early modern philosophy was enormous, overshadowing every other medieval author on the topic of emotion. Although Aquinas’s account of emotion merits attention for its historical significance and enduring value, it remains neglected by philosophers and theologians.

With emotion emerging as a focus of interest in many disciplines, the time is ripe for a reconsideration of Aquinas’s contribution. Desire and emotion are central to Aquinas’s theological project, and his views on many topics, including the relationship between cognition and emotion, show remarkable prescience in the light of recent developments. Emotion is particularly important to his understanding of virtue and vice. Focusing on the Summa theologiae, Nicholas Lombardo contributes to the recovery, reconstruction, and critique of Aquinas’s account of emotion in dialogue with both the Thomist tradition and contemporary analytic philosophy. It considers Aquinas’s thought on emotion in its historical context and inner logic, and shows how it bears on larger issues in his anthropology and ethics.



Nicholas E. Lombardo is a Dominican priest engaged in research at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.



“Nicholas Lombardo’s beautifully argued and carefully documented book is a persuasive retrieval of what Saint Thomas himself obviously regarded as essential to our understanding of the moral and spiritual life–even more important now than in his own day.”–Fergus Kerr, O.P., Honorary Fellow, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh


Nancy is available to answer all questions via e-mail.

Look for her monthly column in the South Shore Senior News!

For brain health consultations for yourself, your family, or your organization contact Nancy for further information or to book an appointment. 978-621-1926 or email at


Nancy Emerson Lombardo, PhD
HealthCare Insights, LLC
P.O. Box 2683 , Acton , MA 01720

© 2011 HCI

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