HealthLifestyle

Do almonds really help our brain?

Time and again, we all have heard about how good almonds are for kids and teenagers to maximize their intelligence, but what must have bothered a lot of people is, how and why almonds are good for your brain? What exactly almonds offer that makes them better than other foods? And similar questions. In this post, I am gonna talk about those hows and whys while trying to keep it simple for you to understand.

What most people might or might not know is, the human brain needs fat to thrive, and almonds are rich in good fats (Monounsaturated fatty acids and Polyunsaturated fatty acids). But, this is not the whole picture.

Human Brain is 60% Fat.

Yes, our brains do need fat to thrive and develop, but fats are of different kinds and not all of them play an equal role in the development of the brain. Different types of fat are, Saturated, Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated and Trans (this fat is created when oil crosses its smoke point and is extremely unhealthy in every way).
The most important fat needed by our brain is Omega-3 (polyunsaturated) which reduces inflammation and builds new brain cells. Some of the foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids are flax seeds, almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, walnuts, soybean etc. So, almonds are not the only ones in the band, there are other contenders too.

So omega-3, is it?

The complete answer to our questions is yet to be arrived at. Omega-3’s are also of different types.

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are the omega-3s which come from marine animals such as krill and fish, whereas ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), another omega-3, is a plant-based fat, which most people consume via flax seeds, chia seeds, and the foods I mentioned above.

Why do you need DHA and EPA?

EPA and DHA play a greater role in our system, DHA being largely responsible for promoting new brain cells. When we consume EPA and DHA, they stay in our body for more than 3 days and work towards the development of the body. Whereas ALA is just like other foods, and mainly supplies energy to the body which disappears within 10 hours. Also, only 0.5% to 1% of ALA gets converted into EPA and DHA.
This is why vegetarians usually lack DHA and EPA in their diet. Deficiency of these essential fatty acids can also cause cancer and heart diseases. But that is the worst case scenario, still worth knowing.

Enough of this Science, what’s the Bottom Line?

 
While ALA (plant-based omega-3) is good for health. It cannot replace EPA and DHA, which are actually responsible for maximizing the intellectual potential of your child. Besides brain development, they also promote your heart’s health and good cholesterol.
For those who are vegans, I would recommend eating plant-based omega-3 (ALA) combined with Omega-3 supplements which contain DHA and EPA.
Almonds and other fat-rich foods do contribute to brain development. But providing your body with the right kind of fat is more important so that the brain reaches the maximum potential.
Consuming DHA supplements before, during and after pregnancy will have a huge positive effect on the child’s mental health.
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