Better Fats, Healthier Brain
What’s one of the fastest paths to a healthier brain?
When people hear that the answer is “eat healthier fats,” they’re often taken aback. Our brains, however, are actually 60% fat, and eating healthy fats is an essential part of maintaining a healthy brain. Here are a few of our favorite brain-boosting fats:
We’ve talked plenty about avocados on the blog before, but their benefits are evident here as well: avocados are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which promote healthy blood flow and benefit brain function. These healthy fats help the brain function more efficiently, and help to decrease the mental fog that can be exacerbated by a diet high in unhealthy saturated fats.
Fish (or other sources of Omega-3s)
Fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, tuna, and halibut, contain tons of Omega-3 fatty acids, which also boost brain function. Studies suggest including foods high in Omega-3s in your diet at least twice a week (nuts, seeds, and olive oil are other good options), as they’re essential to maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. Omega-3s have also been linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting they not only help keep the brain healthy, but that they also increase mental sharpness and decrease age-related decline.
Coconut oil, like many plant- and vegetable-based oils, also has brain health benefits. It’s rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a healthy fat that is metabolized into ketones, which brain cells can use for fuel. Studies have suggested these ketones may provide an alternative energy source for the brain (compared with normal glucose), and have shown improvement in patients suffering from milder forms of Alzheimers. In general, coconut oil has a number of health benefits, and potential brain boosting power is only one of them, so this is a great superfood to incorporate into your diet.
Though common knowledge has taught that all fats were inherently unhealthy, more recent research emphasizes the importance of balance. Healthy fats not only help us feel full longer and eat less junk, but also have real health benefits for brain function and increased mental sharpness.