How Fat Relates to Your Happiness
Happy February 28th!
I'm not sure how it works out, but for me February is always the most exhilarating month.
Which means, we need extra endocrine, adrenal and mood support from our intake!
Let's get started.
The first thing to know is that the most important thing about fat, aside from "kind"- is something I call "integrity". If fat is rancid, or spoiled, even if it was originally a healthy type of fat for you, it has rendered itself something that will do more harm than good. :( To avoid letting fat get rancid- buy oils in a smaller bottle, and or keep more delicate fats in the fridge.
So! How do fats support your mood?
The first thing to chat about when we talk about fats- is ratios. Specifically, the ratios your body needs for optimal performance.
The Omega 3-6-9 Ratio can influence your mood- often we eat a lot of Omega 6s and 9s but are low in Omega 3s. And that can be an issue, as Omega 3s have such a positive effect on mood and cognition- that they are used in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder.
In the beginning of human evolution, diets were abundant in fish and our ancestors maintained a 1:1 ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s. Today- with so many plant oils and nuts and seeds available, it can be hard to maintain this kind of balance.
There are two main components of omega 3s- the first is EPAs, which aid in mood, the second is DHA, which supportive cognitive function and brain development.
EPA and DHA- Outlook & Cognition
These acids are found in wild cold water fish like salmon. This happens because wild salmon feed on algae. A DHA-rich diet has been linked to improved memory, speaking ability & motor skills. As well, it has been shown to reduce levels of mood disorders in individuals, including depression and bipolar disorder, resulting in improvements to mental health.
Serotonin - Happy Mood Brain Chemical
Monounsaturated fats- like those found in avocados - promote increased blood flow. Avocados also contain high levels of the amino acids trytophan and tyrosine which convert into neurotransmitters once they enter the body. Trytophan becomes serotonin which promotes happiness and a positive mood. While tyrosine becomes dopamine - which is the chemical released when you receive rewards and feel motivated, also involved in focus.
Cocoa butter, or the fat inside of chocolate can also help boost serotonin levels.
Choline is an essential nutrient found in foods like eggs and milk that has been linked to improvements in memory. Choline is involved in making acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that aids in memory retention and learning. It has also been associated with decreasing the risk of dementia and other brain changes.
Your brain is made up of neurons, and the connections between these neurons (the highways the connections run on) are made up of fat, called myelin. The myelin sheath enables signals to move quickly and synapses to occur. Myelin is made out of cholesterol, which you body creates when you consume saturated fat. Healthy saturated fats, like coconut and coconut oil can help support your myelin.