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Why Does the Brain Need Fat?

Updated on November 25, 2011

Dark Chocolate is Beneficial

Fat For the Brain

Being called a fat head may not be such a bad thing after all. It seems that the brain is 60% fat. To boost brain-power and improve our memory enhancing abilities, foods with omega-3 fatty acids are necessary.

Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

Omega-3 fatty acids contain DHA and EPA. Both are crucial to maintaining brainpower. DHA (DocosaHexaenoic Acid) is particularly important for boosting the memory enhancing chemical known as acetylcholine.

Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids have antioxidants such as polyphenols and Vitamin E which repairs damage from free radicals (those toxic compounds). And good news - a bit of dark chocolate is highly recommended.

Which Types of Foods are Recommended?

- dark chocolate - and it must be dark, preferably 70% or more - milk chocolate will not do. Please see the links below for the many benefits of just a bit of dark chocolate.

- ground flax or flax seed oil - quality oils are cold pressed

- cold water fish such as tuna, sardines and salmon

- soybeans - must be organic because soy in the U.S. is a major GM (genetically modified) crop. Unless it says 'organic' it is GM.

- eggs - organic, avoid those just labeled 'free range' - it is meaningless. Also avoid eggs from battery hens.

Other foods include: pumpkin seeds, walnuts and wheatgerm

Fats you must avoid:

There are certain fats that have become rampant in the Western diet and actually interfere with the good fats and their benefits for brain function. These are man-made fats that are labeled 'hydrogenated' or 'partially hydrogenated.' The U.S. still permits a small amount of this harmful fat in processed foods and allows the manufacturer to claim to have 'zero' trans fats. Read the label.

Wait! Doesn't the brain also need Omega-6 fatty acids?

Yes, it does. For the brain to function at its best it needs linoleic (omega-6), and alpha linoleic (omega-3) - but there must be a balance. The Western diet already contains far too much of the omega-6 fatty acids in such foods as cooking oils, and mayonnaise. Others are margarine and chicken.

For more interesting facts about the benefits of dark chocolate see links below!

Will You Add Dark Chocolate to Your Diet?

For the sake of brain fat, would you eat a bit of dark chocolate?

See results

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    • theherbivorehippi profile image

      theherbivorehippi 7 years ago from Holly, MI

      Fabulous Hub!! Yes to dark chocolate..NOOOO to milk chocolate!!! Oh..and I'm glad walnuts made the list! I simply love walnuts! Especially on salads! I always have to have some kind of texture on my salads. :) Love this information. Rated up!

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

      I love the fact that dark chocolate made the list as well. I absolutely love it. I'll be proud to say I'm a fat head from now on.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 7 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Thanks for this informative article. I'm sure my brain is well fed -- as I eat lots of fish, walnuts and dark chocolate. (But not on the same plate. Euw!) Enjoyed the read. Lynda

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

      Hello BK! Another creative approach. I have read on why the body needs fat but never read on the brains dependence on it as well. And boy does this discovery please me as I detest spending time in the grocery store reading the nutritional label. Now I can feel good about eating chocolate too! Yahoooo! Great job!

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      BK: I went to the fridge and took an Omega 369 capsule before finishing your article. Gooood to know about dark chocolate, didn't know it was good for the brain and blood pressure.

      Thumbs up!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I am glad I am reading some sence about all these diets. Thank you for a great hub.

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 7 years ago from Delaware

      What an interesting hub BK! My husband eats dark chocolate but unfortunately I don't like the taste. Thanks for the info on Omega 6 too!

    • loveofnight profile image

      loveofnight 7 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

      good stuff.....thx 4 share

    • Trish_M profile image

      Tricia Mason 7 years ago from The English Midlands

      Great. I enjoy all those things!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I thought my computer was crashing last night - it was soooooo slow - and rather than tossing it out the window I decided to shut it down and go have some walnuts. I think it made a difference because it calmed me down - and this morning I am a new person. It's interesting, when I lived in South Korea it was easy to find tons of walnuts everywhere - and that seemed to be the choice of a snack food - just a couple and that was it.

      So thank you theherbivorehippi - enjoy your walnuts without the dark chocolate

      - and thanks for the rating

      Thank you Veronica Allen, love the fat head comment - I must share this info with students so the term won't bother them

      Thank you too lmmartin you have a great diet - for a great gardener

      Thank you Ann Nonymous - it is so great to have this forum to share information

      Thank you Violet Sun - I see you cover all the omegas - balance is so important

      Thank you Hello, hello - I think once we think nutrition and not calorie counting we'll all be better for it

      Thank you Jen's Solitude - Isn't it nice to have a smart husband?

      Thank you loveofnight

      Thank you Trish_M

      Thanks for the comments and for taking the poll

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 7 years ago

      You did a really great job on this hub. I like so many other's, was not aware of the benefits of dark chocolate in regards to Omega 3's so Kudo's to dark chocolate walnuts. Yeah!!

      Sage

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you so much Sage Williams for your compliment. I'm glad the hub is informative!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Very nice BkCreative. I enjoyed this a lot. Thank you Ma'am!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're very welcome Micky Dee. It's always nice to keep up with you and read your great wild fun adventures!

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

      Great hub I love chocolate thanks

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Central Oregon

      Great advice and so true! I only wish I could have the chocolate but you go with what ya got....super hub!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This is a very good hub. I found out about the dark chocolate when we were doing the health hubs which made me very happy as I love dark chocolate. You really gave some great advice.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You've welcome ladyjane1 - great to meet you too by the way.

      Thanks for commenting akirchner. Always great to have your input and comment and good humor!

      I'm glad you liked the hub Pamela99. I just had a bit of dark chocolate and it made me so happy.

      Thanks so much for the comments!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

      'hydrogenated' or 'partially hydrogenated huh, as usual these fats are sneaky courtesy of the FDA, hehe! Thank you so much BK< Good night! Maita

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Bk Creative, Great informative and educational hub! Hmmm I like the idea of chocolate being good for you! Tuna, salmon and sardines all good stuff too... Of course in moderation... As usual its been a pleasure! Thank you for sharing, In His love & Blessings!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Good Morning! It's horrifying for sure prettydarkhorse, The FDA is the gatekeeper - and they have allowed the worst garbage on the market. Once again a reminder, that we are totally responsible for our health.

      You're welcome DeBorrah K. Ogans - I'm glad you found the hub informative. Always good to hear from you.

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 7 years ago

      BcKreative, i love the chocolate and all the other foods good for brain. I am going to raise the dose. Maybe then I'll write more and more interesting hubs. :)

      Thanks for this article. I learned something today.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you too cameciob. I enjoyed your fun comment and it just so happens I have raised the dose - I had walnuts earlier and just had a tiny piece of dark chocolate. I think I feel better.

      I'm glad you found the hub interesting!

    • profile image

       7 years ago

      Bk...

      Excellent hub! I love tuna, salmon, dark chocolate! Great! I am gonna give my brain a good dose of that! Incredible! We`ve always have what we needed for a perfectly balanced body! God doesn`t knit without thread! Thumbs up!

      warmest regards and infinte eternal blessings,

      Al

    • Mystique1957 profile image

      Mystique1957 7 years ago from Caracas-Venezuela

      Bk...

      Excellent hub! I love tuna, salmon, dark chocolate! Great! I am gonna give my brain a good dose of that! Incredible! We`ve always have what we needed for a perfectly balanced body! God doesn`t knit without thread! Thumbs up!

      warmest regards and infinite eternal blessings,

      Al

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

      Thank you BkCreative for a hub that doesn't make me feel embarrassed like most diet hubs do! Dark chocolate, walnuts, tuna, salmon, flaxseed - wow - now brain food sounds so enjoyable!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I get new information here. I never thought before that our brain need fat. And you show to me very well. For me this is very informative and useful for us. I rate this Up! thank you very much.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you too, Al - it sounds like you are already doing very well. It's surprising that we are constantly told to eat more chicken chicken chicken - but it adds way too much Omega-6 to the diet. And then when it's fried - yikes! And yes, all we need already exists!

      You're welcome Shalini Kagal! I appreciate your comment because it is true we don't need calorie counting diets - we just need a knowledge of nutrition - and balance.

      I'm glad you found the hub informative and useful prasetio30. I'm so glad we are making nutrition a part of our lives once again - it makes all the difference. Calorie counting does nothing to educate us about nutrition.

      Thanks for the comments and all the input!

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I've been reading a lot about the 'good' fats lately, how important they are to the brain. As the population ages, we'd better take your advise so we can hang on to our brains.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Real good point Delores Monet - and now that you mention it - I wonder if there is an Alzheimer's connection. Maybe our abundance of omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is part of the problem. Hmmmm. Certainly food for thought.

      Thanks for your input!

    • Rismayanti profile image

      Rismayanti 7 years ago from Tropical Island

      FAT.. fatty acyl glicerol.. thank for your info...basic of our body...I will follow you., so informatif

    • hypnodude profile image

      Andrea 7 years ago from Italy

      Honestly this is the kind of hubs I like, concise, to the point, and with a lot of information, the good ones. Rated and stumbled.:)

      And thanks.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks for commenting Rismayanti - nice to meet you too!

      Great to hear from you hypnodude - your opinions are always valued. I'm glad you summarized it because I am working on just what you said - being concise, to the point, and filled with the information. It's easy to go on and on and on...

      Thanks for the comments!

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      I can't believe it - I like all the food listed! Great hub!

      Amber:)

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      That is so great Amber Allen - Sounds like you got your brain together! Thanks so much for commenting!

    • profile image

      hubpageswriter 7 years ago

      I love dark chocolate and soy beans. Maybe I can recommend these tips to some of my friends whom are trying their best to maintain those weight of theirs and also for a healthy mind. Great hub. Thank you for the comment to my hub, I appreciate it. =)

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You're welcome hubpageswriter - I enjoyed your hub about urban legends. Thanks for commenting!

    • mwatkins profile image

      mwatkins 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

      Anything that has to do with chocolate - I'm IN! I had no idea about most of this stuff - Way to Go! ;-)

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

      This is very informative. You are good at this...Thank you for sharing. I did not realize the brain was 70% fat...

      I will try some more dark chocolate.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm glad you approve mwatkins - good old dark chocolate - it was always there for us!

      Glad you found the hub informative lctodd - and thanks for the compliment. I get such a kick out of finding this information.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 7 years ago from US

      Very good hub, I guess salmon is all I haven't tried, I remember not liking it as a kid...need to look for some recipes that might help it. Had some in my hand today....I should have...I will next time.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Pollyannalana - glad you liked the hub. I'm enjoying dark chocolate and walnuts - soooo satisfying. Thanks for commenting!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Wow, my brain should be in great shape! lol

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello habee! Judging by your many great hubs - sounds like your brain is in great shape! I think we need this fat to do all the hard writing we do! Thanks for commenting!

    • Coolmon2009 profile image

      Coolmon2009 7 years ago from Texas, USA

      I enjoyed reading this one; good article on the Omega's.

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thank you Coolmon2009! I'm glad you enjoyed the article!

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      I have been eating dark chocolate lately - and it's very satisfying. I'd read of some of its benefits and was so pleased to know! Also nuts - I love walnuts, almonds and pecans, all of which are supposed to have health benefits. Salmon is my favorite "meat" actually. I eat it regularly. Tuna and sardines are good as well. In fact fish is among my favorite foods. I'm going to be a lot more fussy about eggs. I don't use a lot of them but often just get the ones "on sale". These days, though - I'm more than willing to buy the best FOR me rather than for my wallet. I have almost no expense for medicines so figure my investment in healthy eating is justified! I really learned a lot from this article, Bk - thank you so much!!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Oooh good for you Nellieanna - yes, let's all invest in healthy eating. I am finding it easier and easier to just go ahead and get the quality item I want. I truly believe it is more sating so you eat less - and you are healthier for it, too.

      I'm making it a point to get nuts and have to replenish the olive oil which has the ability to make me feel full for so long - just 1/2 tablespoon in the a.m. or when I remember.

      There is no way I am going to allow myself to keep getting older and be chronically ill like so many people I know and see. We are meant to be healthy.

      I am so glad you are enjoying the hubs and keeping in touch. You have reminded me too to drink more water and I will right now.

    • profile image

      peacefulparadox 6 years ago

      Since no one has mentioned it yet, I'll mention it. Avocados. Avocados contains a whole lot of good mono-unsaturated fats.

    • profile image

      peacefulparadox 6 years ago

      Since no one has mentioned it yet, I'll mention it. Avocados. Avocados contains a whole lot of good mono-unsaturated fats.

      WebMD says "Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health"

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Excellent tip peacefulparadox - and I have a hub here about the great benefits of raw fat which is the avocado. I think I will link it to this hub.

      Thanks a lot!

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 6 years ago from Maine

      Very healthful hub. Always good to read about foods that will benefit our body, mind, soul and is delicious too. I can never turn away dark chocolate!

    • BkCreative profile image
      Author

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm glad you liked the hub creativelycc. There is so much good stuff out there. Thanks for commenting!

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