By Roselen Fernandez
Did you know that 60% of your brain and the nerves that run all over your body are made up of fats? It stands to reason that the better fat the body ingests, the better your brain and nerves will work.
Today’s diet is full of fat… bad fat. It produces individuals who are obese, with high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels, who are developing chronic diseases and higher risks of mental disorders.
There are good fats (unsaturated fats) and bad fats ( saturated and trans fat). Generally, fat is not bad for the body. Fat provides energy and structure to the body—depending on the type of fat that you are ingesting.
Think of your brain as the master operator that sends chemical messengers all over the body and instructing each organ to work. One important group of these “chemical messengers” are called the prostaglandins. The prostaglandins initiate the body’s repair mechanism and the body needs two essential fats to manufacture healthy brain cells.
These fats are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The human body cannot manufacture these essential fats that’s why they are sourced from the foods that you eat or from your diet. DHA and EPA are the two most important polyunsaturated fat for brain function. They are the building blocks of cell membranes and are also part of the enzyme within the cell membrane that allows it to transport valuable nutrients in and out of the cells. If the brain and the human body are deprived of these nutrients, brain function will diminish and the total body health will be out of balance.
Diets of first world and industrialized countries are high in omega-6 but have too little omega-3. Omega -6 is known to have inflammatory properties while omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties. Diets high in omega-6 have resulted in a high percentage of people developing chronic diseases, while low levels of omega-3s have resulted in a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and mental disorders.
Essential Fatty Acids As Brain Food
Based on studies and research, omega-3 and omega-6 help in the brain and cognitive development of a child. From 25 weeks after conception up to 2 years, the brain of the child develops very fast. Enhancing the child’s diet with these essential fats can help in improving their learning ability, memory and intelligence.
Research on 500 school children by the University of Oxford found that a childs’ blood levels of long-chain omega-3 DHA can scientifically improve a child’s ability to learn and concentrate. They stated that high levels of omega-3 in the blood has contributed to a child’s improved reading and memory with fewer behavior issues as rated by the parents and teachers. They also stated that children belonging to this group excelled in tests and exams as compared to kids with low DHA levels in the blood.
Omega-3s can also influence brain performance and development later in life. Actually the brain is more sensitive to nutrition not only during the growing-up years, but also in the last couple of decades as a senior citizen. Having the right amount of omega-3 later in life can help lower the risks of developing Alzheimer”s disease, dementia and depression. It has been shown that DHA is one of the primary structural components of brain tissue; thus DHA deficiency could translate into a deficiency in brain function. There are a number of researchers that recognize the possibility that DHA has a crucial influence on the brain’s neurotransmitters that help brain cells communicate with each other.
The human brain has come a long way. From building simple tools, to building civilizations and going to outer space. Don’t let your brain down. Fill it up with the right and essential fats.
Roselen Fernandez works as an editor/contributor of health magazines online and in print. She loves running and taking her two dogs for a walk every morning. More of this tips at http://health365.com.au/