I am totally nuts about healthy fats. I use to steer clear of fat because I thought eating fat would make me fat. Thank goodness I grew up, did my own research, and started to change my fat-free diet. For those of you over 40, you remember the "fat-free" craze. Where fat was demonized as the one macronutrient that was making America fat! Wow, how the power of advertisement hurt our brains. Especially those of us that were in our tweens and teens, with developing brains, we were programmed with messages to not eat fat. So, what do you think many of us young women did? I can remember in high school and going into college I would try and buy all the "Fat-Free" labeled foods! Yikes!!!
Healthy fats are very important for proper brain health. Did you know that about 60% of your brain is fat?* Did you also know that your brain makes up only about 2% of your body... yet it consumes about 25% of the calories and oxygen you take in? So your bain is an energy-sucking machine. The type of energy you are putting into your machine matters!
Not all fats are created equal. "Women who had the highest consumption of saturated fat had the worst memory and cognition over time," says Dr. Olivia Okereke, lead author of the study and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
So what foods have a high amount of good fats in them?
1. Nuts and seeds, including pistachios, almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans, macadamia, chia seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Now if you have a hard time eating nuts & seeds because they do not agree with your digestive system, try to soak your nuts overnight in water with a little sea salt. Some people lack the proper digestive enzymes. You can also buy soaked and sprouted products at the store. Shoot for raw, organic, and unsalted.
2. Healthy cooking oils, including avocado oil (great for high heat cooking), Olive oil (not extra-virgin for cooking, but extra virgin for non-cooking), coconut oil (also great for cooking), extra-virgin avocado oil (not for cooking), and grass-fed ghee. A great rule of thumb for whether to cook with an oil or not. If it has the word "virgin" in it do not cook with it.
3. Avocados are my go-to morning "fast food." I cut one in half, pull out the seed, splash on some hot sauce, scoop out with a spoon, and eat. This is my favorite fruit next to blueberries.
4. Dark Chocolate... any... I don't discriminate against chocolate :)
5. Fish such as Alaskan salmon (wild-caught), mahimahi, oysters, sardines, anchovies, bass (saltwater, stripped, black), scallops, Alaskan cod, lobster, yellowfin tuna, and tilapia.
These are just a handful of fatty and yummy foods I like to eat. Find what works for you and eat up yummy fats. Your brain will thank you!
Photo credit @simplee.focused www.simpleefocused.com