To keep your brain in top form, you need to eat enough omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation and can benefit memory and mood.
Unfortunately, the average person does not eat enough omega-3 fats, and consumes too many omega-6 fats from vegetable oils, eggs, meat, and processed foods.
Studies of laboratory animals show that too many omega-6 fats lead to fewer branches in brain neurons and impaired memory.
Of course, we need some omega-6 fats, which support healthy skin and normal blood clotting. But we should strive for a ratio of 3 omega-6 fats for every one omega-3 fat, rather than the 20 to one ratio of the typical American diet.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include anchovies, cod, crab, flounder, herring, lobster, salmon, sardines, scallops, sea bass, sole, trout, and tuna.
However, eating more than two or three servings of fish each week may increase blood mercury levels, which can cause mental and physical harm.
Large predatory fish such as shark and swordfish contain more mercury than smaller fish like salmon or sole.
If you’re not a fish eater, you can get your omega-3 fats from kidney or pinto beans; a variety of seeds and nuts including flaxseed, butternuts, pecans, and walnuts; canola, flaxseed, cod liver, and soybean oils; or vegetables such as arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, radish, romaine lettuce, spinach, turnips, and winter squash.
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