As far as diet is concerned, there are good fats and bad fats. The fats we put into our bodies are of particular importance because of their effect upon brain functioning. Again, some fats have a very positive effect upon the brain, whilst others have a damaging effect.
Fats of great benefit to the brain include OMEGA-3 FATTY ACID – such fats are vital to good mental functioning (in fact, the composition of the brain is 60% fat).
An intake of the correct fats enables the brain to manufacture its cells effectively – the specific type of fats required are called LIPID FATTY ACIDS. A lack of these has a detrimental effect upon brain function. The type of fat required by the brain cannot be manufactured by the body so needs to be taken in by the diet. Food sources for the fat include:
– vegetable oils
– sesame oils
– green leafy vegetables
Lack of OMEGA-3 leads to neurons (cells in the brain) not working properly; at worst, it can even mean some neurons will die.
This type of fat can be damaging to the brain. It can lead to brain cell membranes becoming rigid – this undesirable occurrence, in effect, means that communication between the brain cells becomes inefficient; the brain, therefore, develops problems transmitting information between these cells.
CONCLUSION: RESEARCH SHOWING BENEFITS TO BRAIN FUNCTION OF GOOD INTAKE OF OMEGA-3:
Research has shown that as intake of OMEGA-3 goes up (within limits, obviously), so to does the quantity of the neurotransmitter known as SEROTONIN available in the brain. This is of great benefit as SEROTONIN helps to keep our mood CALM, STABLE and POSITIVE. Research has also shown that OMEGA-3 improves the effective functioning of another neurotransmitter in the brain known as DOPAMINE – this helps us to REGULATE OUR MOOD AND EMOTIONS.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).