How Fats In Your Nutrition Benefit Your Brain Performance
Are you still wondering how to deal with those fats? Sometimes fats are still having a bad name - what is not true. Nowadays most people know that our body needs them. In fact, they can have a positive impact on our performance.
But fat is not fat: there are different types of fats – some are good, others are to avoid. Let's look at them and figure out which ones are best to enhance your performance and give you great energy.
Characteristics of fats
Fats are molecules built of one glycerin-molecule and three fatty acids attached to it.
This is how a fat molecule looks like in simplified form (Yes, I drew that myself)
Differences made between kinds of fats mostly refer to the length of the fatty acids.
There are long-chained ones, ones with medium chain-lengths (often called MCTs – medium-chain triglycerides), and short-chained ones. I'll not go too deep into that topic but later in this article I want to emphasize the effects of MCTs on your performance.
There's also another difference between fats: saturated and unsaturated ones.
This is not about chain length, but about chain structure. The saturated ones have no double bounds between their atoms. Unsaturated fats have one or more of them.
Imagine a steel chain: the unsaturated chain has one or more chain links which are double-connected to the other.
Saturated fats once were held accountable for heart disease, because they were said to raise “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels.
This is not true as evidence shows (this one for example: http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/6/e010401.full).
Think about that: Human breast milk is one of the richest sources of saturated fats in nature. Why don't the babys get heart disease right away? Wouldn't it be stupid of nature to give babys such a “bad” food?
You don't have to be afraid of eating fats! Just make sure to pick ones of high quality (not McDonalds), then you'll be fine.
I won't go too deep into that, but here are some sources of good fats:
- Fatty fish like salmon or herring
- Grass-fed beef
- Native oils like olive, linseed etc.
- Seeds like Chia
- Coconut (keep that in mind for later)
Your brain needs fats
Your brain consists about 60% of fat and 25% of cholesterol. Isn't that evidence enough?
It's not only that your brain consists of it, the transmission of signals can become slower, if there's too less fat. This is because the “wires” of your brain cells are coated in fatty myelin - which makes transmission of signals faster.
As a result, low fat intake over long time leads to poor brain function – and the right fat intake over long time leads to good brain function.
Cholesterol stimulates the birth of new brain cells. It also functions as a protector from antioxidants – which would otherwise attack your brain cells and finally destroy them.
Cholesterol is the precursor of Vitamin D, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, which all make your brain function well. So again, do not fear eating fat or cholesterol, your brain will love you.
As you see, fats are a way to enhance your performance on the long term – and there's also a way they can boost you on the short term.
MCTs and Performance
As I mentioned before, I want to take a longer look on those MCTs. They have several health benefits, which are good for your performance. Those include:
- Reduced appetite/easier weight loss
- Better neurological and cognitive function
- Improved mitochondrial function which leads to
- More energy
- Increased athletic performance
- Reduced risk for arteriosclerosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, epilepsy and autoimmune diseases
So, whenever you need a little boost of brain and body energy, you can get in some MCTs.
Now, where do you find those fats, so you can implement them into your meal plan?
Good natural sources of MCTs are
- Coconut oil (remember?)
- Grass-fed butter
- And other dairy products high in fat
But be sure to use good kinds of those fats.
When you think of dairy, grass-fed needs to be highlighted and when you think of coconut oil, it is important that it's not a highly processed industrial one. Yes, that may cost a little more, but it's worth it.
MCTs are also available as a supplement, so this is also a possibility to get them in on a consistent basis. Here too, be sure to take a high-quality one.
Dave Asprey developed a way to implement those things into the days of people. He created the “Bulletproof coffee”.
Bulletproof coffee is a big coffee, which you drink right in the morning. You put some coconut oil or MCT oil supplement and some grass-fed butter in it and blend it, so it gets creamy. It will saturate you for long time, providing all the health benefits listed above: in fact, high performance.
Many people use it for weight-loss and better concentration. If you want to know how to make this coffee, check out Dave's video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YjLMdx3YZY
I hope this opened your eyes a little. The thing for you to do now is: get the right amount of good fats every day.
Especially give some attention to MCT-containing stuff like coconut oil. Of course, keep healthy amounts and do not feel permitted to overuse fat. Then watch how you feel and perform on a daily basis.
About the Author
Maurice Leibinn is the creator of Productive Energy Management – a method that helps people get a maximum amount of results in a minimum of time while sustaining their energy and avoiding any kind of overwhelm.
He is a productivity Coach serving serving overworked entrepreneurs and professionals. Read more...