Is Fat Slowing Your Brain Down?

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Wellbeing Leave a Comment

Is Fat Slowing Your Brain Down? In this article we'll explore how the wrong kind of fat can seriously affect your brain and how to biohack your brain health.

New research is showing that the fat you eat may be affecting how well your brain is functioning. For a long time, the nutrition and medical community have been concerned with how fat is affecting our hearts, but now, research is showing those same fats that keep your heart healthy can keep your brain healthy too.

Omega-3 Fat for Brain Health

Your Brain is Composed of Approximately 60% Fat.

In one study, women who consumed higher amounts of monounsaturated and Omega-3 fatty acids showed better performance on cognitive tests. On the other hand, women whose diets included more saturated and trans-fats had less desirable outcomes. There was no difference found with how much fat the women ate, but instead, the type of fat seemed to be the key factor influencing their brain's performance.

In another study, conducted by a Gene Bowman, a Naturopathic Physician at OHSU, it was found that trans fat not only resulted in poor brain performance, but participants also had “less total cerebral brain volume.”

60% of Your Brain is Fat

To improve your brain function, substitute healthy fats for those “bad” fats. Remember, about 60% of your brain is fat. Don't avoid fat in your diet, but rather, make healthy choices that will be good for your brain and for your heart.

Is Fat Slowing Your Brain Down?

What we can learn from these studies is the type of fat has the biggest impact. Aim for high quality sources of good fat daily.

Substitute Avocado Slices for Cheese In Your Meals

Sources of Good Fat:

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil (avoid cooking with it)
  • Coconut oil (better cooking option)
  • Avocados
  • Organic Ghee
  • Organic Grass fed butter
  • Organic Grass fed tallow
  • Organic Lard
  • Duck fat
  • Brain Octane by Bulletproof

 Sources of Bad Fat:

  • Margarine
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Candy, cookies and other products made with hydrogenated oils (be wary of the ingredients list)
  • French fries & fast foods
  • Corn fed or non-organic saturated fats

Is Saturated Fat Bad?

Saturated fat coming from grass fed beef tend to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids (although, not enough to make this your primary source), B vitamins and antioxidants.

While these studies did show that saturated fat is associated with poorer outcomes, it is worth noting that the saturated fat in most Americans diets are coming from highly processed sources and poor quality meats. Saturated fat is necessary in our diet, but in moderation with a mindfulness about the source.

Grass Fed Beef Is Higher In Magnesium, Calcium, Selenium, Vitamin E and Other Nutrients Compared to Grain Fed Beef.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is one of the leading experts in women’s medicine and is a pioneer in her exploration of the far-reaching impact of hormonal birth control and the little known side effects that impact health in a large way. In her best selling book, Beyond the Pill, she shares her clinical protocols aimed at supporting women struggling with symptoms of hormone imbalance, including Post-Birth Control Pill Syndrome and birth control related side effects. A trained nutritional biochemist and Naturopathic Physician, Dr. Brighten is the founder and Clinic Director at Rubus Health, an integrative women’s medicine clinic. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and has been featured in prominent media outlets such as Forbes, Cosmopolitan, ABC news, and the New York Post. Read more about me here.