What Fat Does Your Brain Consume?

Did you know that the brain consisted of a large amount of fat? Scientist Raquel Marin tells us about the fats we must consume to have a healthy brain.

The brain is the body’s fatter body with the fat we have under the skin. However, brain fat is not used primarily as a source of energy but is an integral part of its structure. As a result, your brain never loses weight and your head keeps the same size when you lose weight.

The deficiency of essential fats in the brain is sufficient to reduce its vital functions in the medium term.

Some of the fat components that the brain and nerves need must be incorporated into the diet. Are you adequately informed about essential fats to consume to maintain a healthy brain?

Humans need to eat better and incorporate more fat into their diet:

The human brain is about 10 to 20 times bigger proportionally compared to other mammals such as whales or elephants. Therefore, our brain spends more or less 600 calories a day (30% of the total daily kilocalories of an average adult). 

Specifically, we have the largest and most developed gray matter in the entire animal kingdom that has grown dramatically in record time.

Parallel to this brain development, the human being has developed abstract thought, imagination, reflection, introspection and the “imaginary world”. How to explain this impressive evolution that has transformed our intellect into what we are today?

Two important points stand out: cooking and a richer and more varied diet.

Cooking food helps reduce digestion time and the energy required for restless chewing to digest large amounts of fiber, collagen and cartilage. By decreasing chewing time, we can also improve memory and cognitive ability. The size of the intestine has also been shortened and the intestinal bacterial flora has become richer and more varied.

The benefits of animal proteins:

On the other hand, the incorporation of animal proteins into the diet (soil and water) allowed to accelerate the development and growth of the brain volume. The German neuroscientist Karl Zilles says that the weight of the human brain of Europeans has increased by about 70 grams in the last century thanks to a better diet.

The pleasure of eating well also brings many benefits such as social activity and the pleasure of the senses. Without a doubt, a well-fed belly exalts the intellect!

But that’s not all. Some sociologists and anthropologists argue that the consumption of coastal products (fish, crustaceans, shells, seaweed and even turtles and crocodiles)  has increased our intelligence and our social skills  by creating more complex societies. Indeed, the first great civilizations of our history settled on the banks of the rivers or the sea.

One of the reasons for the development of intelligence lies in the incorporation of one of the fats most sought after by the brain: unsaturated fats in abundance in fish oils.

Without fat, the brain would be mute:

The brain functions as a huge center of operations. It manages an immense database, processes it, and in many cases sends responses and reactions within a wide range of possibilities.

Brain fat is one of the essential parameters for neurons to communicate with each other. And how! It is estimated that the connection between the neurons constitutes an impressive communication network of about 1000 kilometers. Neuronal communication is generated by electrochemical pulses.

In order for the “electric conversation” to take place at maximum speed, the fat that covers the neurons and what we familiarly call the “nerves” is indispensable. In addition, the fat layer prevents the brain from burning. In fact, the grease absorbs more heat and isolates electricity. However, it is not just any fat that will do the trick.

The brain craves cholesterol and omega-3:

The fats of the brain are deliciously chosen in its cells. Of these, about 25% is cholesterol, which is needed to fulfill many brain functions including memory and learning. In addition, the brain’s own cells make cholesterol. There is therefore generally no deficiency of this fatty acid.

However, it is not the same with other favorite fats in the brain without which it could not function properly: polyunsaturated fatty acids. We know them as “omega”. The most numerous are unquestionably omega-3s. The brain is an avid reservoir of omega-3 that needs to be reconstituted.

With the exception of a few traditionally vegan populations, humans typically barely produce all the omega-3s they need. Therefore, when these fatty acids are rare in the diet, it can generate neurodegenerative diseases, cognitive disorders and depressive states in the medium term.

Where do we find the greatest amount of omega-3s?

More than 50% of omega-3 fatty acids come from fish oils (especially blue fish), and smaller amounts from seafood and seaweed. If we eliminate these nutritional sources and replace them only with dried fruits, seeds, vegetable oils and legumes, we will only cover a small part of the total omega-3s that our brain needs.

This aspect is especially important for children during their first years of life. Their brain is still in training and growing. In this regard, a recent study has shown that the imbalance in omega-3 increases the risk of suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.

With age, omega-3s continue to be essential for the functioning and maintenance of the brain. In young adults, the brain is thought to have omega-3 deficiencies only a few months later, while with age, deficiency may be more rapid. In addition, the omega-3 deficiency increases the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson ‘s disease , 

depression and other disorders (insomnia, attention deficit disorder, mental fatigue).

It is estimated that an average adult person needs 200-300 mg per day of different types of fatty acids. Some foods that contain it are:

  • Cod liver oil  (3500 milligrams per 100 grams)
  • Herring and sardines  (1500-1800 milligrams per 100 grams)
  • Salmon , tuna, mackerel, trout, sturgeon  (500-800 milligrams per 100 grams)
  • Fish  eggs (red and black caviar) (380-400 milligrams per 100 grams)
  • Hake, sea bream, seabass, carp, skate, red mullet, turbot, cod, sole and other white fish  (150-200 milligrams per 100 grams)
  • Seaweed  (nori, hiziki, wakame, kombu, dulse, arame) (20-50 milligrams per 100 grams)

What if I do not eat seafood?

Most humans do not have the metabolic mechanism to make certain types of omega-3 from foods of plant origin. Only a few populations of vegan tradition for many generations have managed to adapt to the lack of fish oils and have offset their omega-3 needs from vegetables, grains and seeds.

Finally, consuming only chia seeds or linseed, dried fruits, olives, cereals or vegetable oils is not enough to cover the needs of different types of omega-3 for intellectual and emotional activity.