Is fat really good for your brain? The answer is yes!
Our brains are composed of 60% fat. Therefore, it is no surprise that our brains need fat to work properly. And, even though our brain accounts for only a small portion of our body-weight, as it uses 20% of the body’s metabolic energy.
How it Works?
Good nutrition in general is the most important thing in maintaining a healthy brain and keeping the rest of your body healthy. Studies have shown that nutrition affects brain function and development, throughout one’s life.
Fueling your brain with fat, in particular, encourages ketosis. Ketosis provides energy to the brain and helps in protecting against brain diseases. A diet that is high in mono-unsaturated fats can also help increase the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is essential in memory and learning.
3 Dietary Fats for Your Body and Mind:
DHA is known to help brain functions which includes motor skills, memory and speaking ability. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid, which by increasing dietary levels of omega-3s can help improve conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression and ADHD.
Only a small amount of DHA may be made in the body from a key fatty acid known as linolenic acid. DHA is mainly found in animal products such as eggs, meats and fish.
Oily fish, such as mackerel, trout, herring, salmon, sardines and pilchards, are the richest dietary source of EFAs. This contains 10 to 100 times more DHA than non-marine food sources such as seeds, nuts, whole-grains and dark green, leafy vegetables. Algae is the only rich vegetable source of DHA.
2. Polyunsaturated Fat
Polyunsaturated fats contain EFA’s or essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. The brain needs these fats to function properly and are linked to reduced rates of depression.
Our bodies are unable to produce these EFA’s. So this means that, it is important to include these fat sources in our diets.
Foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat include a number of plant-based oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil and sunflower oil. These also include fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, herring and trout. Other sources include tofu, soybeans, nuts and seeds such as sunflower and walnuts.
3. Saturated Fat
One of the main components of brain cells is saturated fat. Therefore it is essential for healthy brain function. Research have shown that people who consumed more saturated fat, reduced their risk of developing dementia by 36%.
Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods. It comes mainly from animal sources, including dairy and meat products. These includes pork, lamb,
fatty beef, cream, lard, butter, cheese and other dairy products made from whole or reduced-fat milk.
Also some plant-based oils, such as coconut oil, palm kernel oil and palm oil, also contain saturated fats, but do not contain cholesterol.