What do you need to support your brain health? One thing is for sure – the very ingredient most of our brains are made of; FAT.
A diet containing good, non-rancid fats fuels good cognition and mental acuity far better compared to a low fat diet. In a recent Spanish study elderly (medium age 67yrs) were divided into three groups; low fat diet, mediterranean diet plus nuts (around 30grams/day of natural walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds) and mediterranean diet plus generous use of olive oil. After a follow-up period of four years, the group with daily intake of nuts had the lowest occurrence of cognitive decline, Science Daily reports.
Good healthy fats are absolutely vital for our health. After all, they form the membrane of each and every cell of our body and most of our brain and line each and every nerve in our body (MS being an example of a disease, where this lining degrades, scrambling the signal transmission and leading to loss of function).
Understanding the role fats in our physiology, it is easy to see why the source and the quality of our dietary fats is so critical. Intake of hydrogenated, trans fats or rancid fats have shown to have several negative implications in body systems and our metabolism. Not to mention that these fats drive premature ageing!
Get your fats from natural nuts, preferably soaked to remove anti-nutrients (such as almonds and walnuts) and seeds (flax/linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds), sustainably sourced fatty fish (the smaller the better to reduce heavy metal exposure) and plant foods like avocados. Healthy saturated fats are available from coconut oil, dairy products (preferably organic) and organic free range or biodynamic eggs.
As a rule of thumb, I recommend my clients to always seek and use the least processed form of food ingredients; to use nuts instead of nut flours / butters (if you have a blender, these are so easy to make yourself), whole avocados instead of store-made guacamole etc. Less processing equals less chance for rancidity – and who’d like to think with a rancid brain?