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  • Writer's pictureGary Moller

Fat and Oil: Your Brain's Best Friend!

Updated: Apr 6


Now that I'm officially past 70 years old and in excellent health, I can call myself a healthy ageing expert.

Here is my announcement, if you have not yet seen it:

With that in mind, what follows is the next article in my never-ending series about healthy ageing.

Please read this article:

The Brain's Fat Connection:

When it comes to the brain, fat is not the enemy;

These fats are predominantly in the form of phospholipids, which are essential for maintaining the structural integrity of cell membranes. The right balance of fats helps neurons communicate effectively and supports overall cognitive function. In this article, our focus is on fat and brain health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Brain's Best Friend:

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in abundance in fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds, play a starring role in brain health. These fatty acids are integral to the formation of cell membranes and the proper functioning of neurotransmitters, the messengers in our brains.

The Importance of Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

As we age, there's a tendency to reduce fats in our diet, inadvertently impacting fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed in the presence of fats. Each of these vitamins contributes uniquely to brain health:

  • Vitamin A: This vitamin is crucial for vision, but it's also vital for the health of brain cells and the maintenance of neural circuits.

  • Vitamin D: Known as the "sunshine vitamin," it not only supports bone health but also plays a role in neurotransmitter synthesis and protects against neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Vitamin E: An antioxidant powerhouse, vitamin E protects cells from oxidative stress, which is implicated in age-related cognitive decline.

  • Vitamin K: This vitamin is involved in myelin synthesis, essential for the insulation of nerve fibres, aiding in faster and more efficient communication between brain cells.

Sources of Essential Brain Nutrients:

To ensure a well-rounded intake of these essential nutrients, consider incorporating the following foods into your diet:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds.

  • Vitamin A: Eggs and organ meats are rich sources of vitamin A.

  • Vitamin D: Exposure to sunlight and dietary sources like oily fish and liver can contribute to vitamin D intake.

  • Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, along with full cream milk, provide vitamin E.

  • Vitamin K: Leafy greens and organ meats are excellent sources of vitamin K.

Changes in Diet as We Age:

As we get older, there's a tendency to expend less energy, leading to eating less and, by default, a reduction in fats and fat-soluble vitamins - and protein - in our diet. Contrary to this trend, it becomes crucial to focus on nutrient-dense foods, including fats, oils and protein as we age, ensuring that our bodies receive the essential components for optimal function.

Handy Diet Tip:

Reduce, or eliminate all processed grains such as rice, wheat and corn, plus sugar, including honey and replace with fresh foods that are prepared from scratch. That means food made from fresh vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, peas, dairy, fish, meat and eggs. You can't go wrong with these!

Preventing Age-Related Cognitive Decline:

Ensuring an adequate intake of these brain-boosting nutrients becomes even more critical as we age. Omega-3 supplements, Red meat, organ meats, eggs and a diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables for various vitamins, and fats like avocados and olive oil can contribute significantly to maintaining cognitive function.

One topic that will be dealt with separately, is the leading role of prescription medicines in accelerating cognitive decline. Keep an eye out for my articles on this.

So, in conclusion, New Zealand provides access to a variety of fresh, local foods, including locally sourced fish, dairy, and meats, such as red meat and organ meat. Incorporating these options into your diet can be an excellent way to ensure a nutrient-dense diet for optimal brain function.

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