Why is fat so important to mood?
A good level of fat in our diet is one of the sole contributors to the proper functioning of the brain. This is because of brain is actually made up of around 60% fat, all fueled by the types and amounts of fat we receive from our diet. When we don’t receive enough of this food group our brains simply do not have the right tools to function properly. This often leads to fatigue, low mood and poor concentration. In contrast, when we eat sufficient amounts of healthy fats it activates a cascade of chemical reactions in our brain, helping us feel full and stabilize moods.
So which fats are good fats?
Essential fatty acids are fats that need to be consumed in the human diet as the body cannot make them. A number of different fatty acids can be grouped underneath this category but some of the most important include omega 3 and 6 and EPD and DHA. These fats are abundant in foods such as avocado, walnuts, evening primrose oil, cod liver oil, tuna, salmon, full fat milk and full fat cheeses to name a few. All essential fatty acids support mood regulation as they contribute heavily to the structural make up of the brain. Fatty acids are involved in the conduction of serotonin and dopamine, two neuro-hormones which control mood and sleep. Dysfunction and dysregulation of these neuro-hormone pathways has been directly linked to depression. Therefore eatingthese healthy fats has been continually studied to improve depressive and anxiety driven disorders.
So which foods should I be eating?
Nuts, seeds and fish are all great sources of the right fats. Just a handful of cashew, almonds or raw peanuts can give you 200-300mg of omega 3’s, which is double your RDI. So next time you visit KTB, why don’t you try our snickers delight bowl (made with peanut butter) or add full cream yogurt to your bowl. Both options provides a nutritious source of omega 3’s.
Content by Jackie Morgan, Well Hub Nutrition