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Feed Your Brain -- With Fat?

By HERWriter
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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

Oh yeah. Fat is good for more than you thought. Omega-3 essential fatty acids make your brain work like a well-oiled machine. Monounsaturated fats keep your arteries clear, and contribute to a more chipper state of mind.

Saturated fats get mixed press but many researchers are reconsidering the evidence. Dr. Andrew Weil has stated that saturated fat is not a villain. It's the combination of saturated fats and carbohydrates which poses a health threat.

The fats in butter, for instance, aid and abet the body's ability to use other fatty acids like omega-3s. And butter's cholesterol provides a precursor of cortisol, necessary for handling stress.

So as long as you stay away from trans fats, you can pretty much grease your brain with a clear conscience.

Sound surprising? Not when you consider the fact that your brain is 60 percent fat, according to Michael Green of Aston University in England.

Low cholesterol levels have been found to contribute to aggression, depression and anti-social tendencies. Omega-3 essential fatty acids can even relieve psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia.

Baby brains need to binge on omega-3 fatty acids as they grow by leaps and bounds. Sources of omega-3s are anchovies, halibut, mackerel, rainbow trout, salmon and tuna.

Dr. Mehmet Oz has said that omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats can contribute to lowering your risk of Alzheimer's disease. He has cited chia seeds as being high in omega-3 fatty acids. They keep plaque out of the brain's arteries and aid in communication between brain cells.

Oz recommends Brazil nuts for their monounsaturated fat. They assist the messaging system between brain and body with their high magnesium content.

He also recommends almonds, cashews and walnuts for brain health. Monounsaturated fats are found in nuts, olive oil, fish oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil and avocados.

Non-hydrogenated coconut oil is a great source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which offer up an even-keeled energy source when blood sugar is low. And research indicates that MCTs free up omega-3 from storage to be used more liberally by the brain.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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