The brain is an active and hungry organ! It requires energy to function, and the energy we feed it, through the foods we choose to eat, can have a huge effect upon the brain’s general function. So, how do you know what the best foods are to feed your brain? Over the next few weeks we will look at some of the best foods to feed your brain and why they are so important.
The first important brain food is fat. Yes, you read that correctly! Fats are important for brain function – they are a very important brain food – but be sure you are getting the right fats. The right fats, like Omega-3 oils, can not only improve brain function, but they can also improve your mood and may help prevent dementia.
Omega-3 Oils (DHA in particular)
Most of us have heard by now that Omega-3 oils are super healthy for us, but most of that focus has been on the benefits to our good cholesterol levels and our hearts.
Did you know that Omega-3 oils are also extremely important in building and maintaining brain health?
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is particularly important, as it is a main structural component of brain tissue. If you eat a diet that is low in DHA, you could harm your brain function.
- Some studies have shown that animals that consume a diet low in DHA have smaller brains.
- Groups of people who consume large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (like those who eat a lot of fish) have fewer occurrences of degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis.
- DHA improves the communication of signals between brain cells, which keeps the brain functioning optimally and maintains memory.
Aside from general brain function, Omega-3 oils can also help prevent or improve emotional and mental illness.
- Low levels of DHA have been linked to depression, ADD and autism.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help regulate moods by increasing serotonin, which can relieve depression.
- DHA may help with dementia: Dr. Julian Whitaker in The Memory Solution writes, “Japanese studies have shown that supplemental DHA sharpens memory in patientswith dementia and depression and improves behavior and speech in those with Alzheimer's disease."
Even with this brief list you can see how important Omega-3 oils are to our brains, and therefore our minds. So now we want to give you some options for getting these important nutrients to your brain.
Sources of Omega-3 Oils:
- Coldwater fish: sardines, salmon and albacore tuna
- Healthy oils: canola oil, walnut oil, hemp oil, olive oil
- Seeds: Flaxseed, hemp seed, pumpkin seeds
- Soy: tofu, soybeans (edemame)
- Winter squash
Don't forget – not all fats are created equal. Be sure to get the right fats to feed your brain to a better mood and a more brilliant mind.