Your brain is ~60% fat (yep, you technically are a “fathead”). But on a serious note, the reason I am pointing this out is because so many people don’t get enough healthy fats in their diet to support optimal brain functioning.
DHA (short for docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (short for eicosapentaenoic acid) are omega 3 fatty acids that promote thinking and memory. These fats also help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, keep your eyes healthy, and give you smoother skin. If that’s not enough, there’s also evidence that DHA and EPA protect your heart and can assist with fat loss.
So with all this awesomeness, why are we not getting enough omega 3 fatty acids? Well for starters, your body cannot make them so you have to eat them to get it. Most people are not eating enough foods with omega 3s in them. Secondly the balance between omega 6 fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids is really important. Omega 6s cause inflammation in the body while omega 3s have an anti-inflammatory effect. Among other things, inflammation is the main culprit in atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in your arteries that leads to heart disease). Having too many omega 6s has also been linked to cancer cell growth, arthritis, and lots of other crappy stuff. Basically they can cause havoc in your body if they go unchecked. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have the opposite effects – they are like little omega 6 fighting superheroes! Why wouldn’t you want more of them around?
Thirdly, there are omega 6 fatty acids all over the place in your diet – mostly in oils used in processed foods but it is more complicated than that. For example, what we feed our animals affects the ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3 in their tissue (and thus, if we eat them, it affects us too).
So how do you get more omega 3 fatty acids in your diet?
- Fish oil (I like NutraSea liquid, mango flavour but you can also take capsules)
- Wild salmon & trout
- Hemp hearts or hemp protein
- Chia seeds
- Grass-fed beef (ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 = 2:1 instead of 4:1 with grain-fed cattle)
- Omega-3 eggs