Eat Good Fats for Better Brain Health
More and more studies are showing that a healthy diet must include the types of good fats that support brain function and general health. Good fats – high in essential fatty acids (EFAs) -- are those that support healthy communication between neurons to improve brain function, mood, memory and overall health.
Essential fatty acids are naturally occurring fats that our bodies cannot produce. They are critical to help reduce inflammation, promote blood vessel health, support healthy skin growth, give the hormones the precursors they need to remain balanced, and support healthy brain and nervous system function. Good fats include coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, pastured butter, ghee, and almond butter.
Conversely, bad fats impair brain function and promote brain degeneration. High amounts of processed oils or partially hydrogenated fats cause the membranes of your brain cells (neurons) to lose flexibility and become less efficient. Bad fats to strictly avoid include hydrogenated oils, otherwise known as trans fats. Bad fats include canola oil, soy oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, margarine, and sunflower oil.
It is estimated that up to 80% of the US population fail to get enough EFAs in their diet. That’s because the average diet if filled with processed food, industrial fats, and harmful additives and preservatives. These bad fats are found in boxed, processed and bagged foods in the grocery store, and at many restaurants and fast food places.
If you are deficient in essential fatty acids, you may experience the following symptoms:
· Poor brain function
· Painful joints, chronic pain and inflammation
· Dry or unhealthy skin
· Hormone imbalances
There are two types of EFAs, and both are needed by the body. Omega-3 fats are the good fats that improve brain functioning. However, the typical American diet does not contain many sources of omega-3 fats. Instead, it is over-abundant in omega-6 fatty acids found in processed, snack and restaurant foods.
Improve your brain health by incorporating more omega-3 in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. These sources contain the two most critical forms of omega-3 fatty acids --eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Eat more eggs and meat from grass-raised animals, because they produce food with a much higher concentration of omega-3 than those confined and fed only grain or pastured then finished on grain.
For most of us, we will not be able to consume enough omega 3 foods in our diet so it is very important to incorporate quality supplements into your diet. EFA supplements include flax seed oil, fish oil, olive oil, evening primrose oil, and emu oil. Fish oil is one of the very best supplement sources for omega-3 and is critical to buy a brand that has been 3rd party tested for quality.
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