Nowadays, most of the people opt for a low-fat diet for maintaining a healthy weight. However, not all the fats are harmful. You must have heard doctors and dieticians appreciating healthy fats. It may get totally confusing what is exactly true. A good nutrition is a key to maintaining a fit body and a healthy brain. Let us discuss what healthy fats are, their benefits, and some of the high-fat foods that are actually great for your body and brain function.
Dietary Fats for Your Body and Mind
- Polyunsaturated Fat: Polyunsaturated fats are a rich source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) such as omega-3 and omega-6. Your brain needs these fats to function properly. Your body is not capable of producing these fats. Therefore, you should incorporate these fats into your diet.
- Saturated Fat: Saturated fats are necessary for a healthy brain function. Research confirms that people who included saturated fat in their diet had a reduced risk of developing dementia by 36%. These fats play a vital role in cardiovascular health. It is also associated with stronger bones, improved liver and lung health, stronger immune function.
- DHA: One of the major building blocks of your brain, the omega-3 fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is important for maintaining an optimal brain health. The brain-boosting benefits of DHA include speaking ability, memory, and motor skills. It also helps in improving conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, and ADHD.
- Best Foods Packed with Healthy Fats: We have already discussed how eating fats can make you smarter. Here we are providing you with a list of high-fat foods that are good for your body and brain.
- Avocado: Avocados are a natural source of monounsaturated fats that can help your brain function properly and promote a healthy blood flow to your brain. It is also good for your heart and can help in lowering cholesterol levels and preventing clotting of blood.
- Nuts: Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios are a perfect source of unsaturated fats and vitamin E, both of which are associated with a healthy brain functioning. While walnuts are one of the best omega-3 nuts, omega-3 seeds include flaxseed and chia seeds. Apart from this, many green and leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, watercress etc.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The monounsaturated fats present in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can help in reducing the incidence of heart attack or any heart-related disorder. The antioxidants in EVOO can help in protecting you from cell damage. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in improving memory and cognitive function.
- Butter: The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids present in butter can improve skin health and help your brain to function properly. Moreover, butter also has fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, including selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant.
- Coconut Oil: Apart from its skin and hair benefits, coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids that are easy for your body to digest, rev up your metabolism, and improve brain and memory function. The natural saturated fats present in the coconut oil helps in increasing the levels of good cholesterol and promotes heart health. The antioxidants in coconut oil make it a good anti-inflammatory food, which can help in reducing arthritis.
- Olives and Olive Oil: A cup of black olive contains 15 grams of fat (mainly monounsaturated). Studies show that olive contains a phytonutrient called hydroxytyrosol, linked to cancer prevention and reduce bone loss. Eating right portions is important, as olives are high in sodium. Have 10 small or 5 large olives for the perfect proportion. On the other hand, a tablespoon of olive oil has 14 grams of fats.
- Salmon: Fatty fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help in boosting heart health. Eating two servings a week is enough to get the benefits.
We have already discussed some of the high-fat foods that are actually great for your body and brain. However, the trick is to maintain a balance between under eating and overeating. Eat them in moderation and make the fats work for you.