Fats often get a bad rep, but it’s extremely important to incorporate healthy fats into our diets to maintain optimal brain function. The brain is made up of about 60% of fatty acids and when we deprive our bodies of essential fatty acids we can impair brain performance and can onset disease. Here are 4 healthy fats that can help increase mental clarity, performance, and maintain a healthy brain:
The majority of fats in coconut meat and coconut oil are made up of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are fats that are easily absorbed and go directly to the liver to be metabolized into energy as ketones. MCTs have been shown to increase focus, memory, mood, mental clarity, and other cognitive functions. Coconuts also have a high nutritional profile and are packed with powerful antioxidants that can prevent the body from free radicals and reduce inflammation in the brain.
Avocados are an extremely nutrient-dense fruit that has a high source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats the brain needs to function properly. We can only get omega-3 fatty acids through foods and supplementation, so it’s important to incorporate them into our everyday day. The omega-3s in avocados are vital for brain growth and development, memory, and fighting inflammation. They also consist of monounsaturated fats, which can reduce the risk of cognitive decline by their ability to increase blood flow into the brain. Avocados are even high in folate, which have been shown to promote growth and development too and might even lower the risk of depression.
Salmon is rich in two key omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA helps us provide more oxygen to the brain, increase memory, decrease inflammation, lower blood pressure, and improve cellular function. Salmon is also a great source of B12, which can help fight brain shrinkage, increase mood and energy levels.
Almonds are packed with antioxidants and full of omega-3 fatty acids too. Their high vitamin E profile has been shown to help improve cognitive functions like: alertness, memory and build and protect our cells from oxidative damage. Almonds also contain high amounts of folate and B6, which are both beneficial to our thought process and mood. Folate and B6 have even been shown to lessen feelings of anxiety and depression.
I hope this can help you better incorporate fats into your every day for some extra brain fuel and mental clarity!
Try one of our healthy fat protein smoothies to start incorporating more healthy fats into your diet today.
Christina Ashley Midollo
Certified Nutritionist & Healthy Living Coach
Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences
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