What do walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flaxseed all have in common?
They’re rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids and have a super omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, making them excellent brain-boosting foods!
Omega-3 fats are found in chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed and flax oil, walnuts, chlorella and spirulina and in oily fish including wild salmon, sardines and mackerel.
For brain and good mood:
Omega-3 fat is the most important type for your brain and body. It nourishes every single body cell to keep them strong and supple, it helps your complexion to stay fresh and youthful, it keeps joints lubricated and healthy, and the more of it you eat, the better your mood can become.
This is because it quickly increases a natural and potent antidepressant brain chemical called dopamine by up to 40%, to boost alertness, focus and a good mood. In fact, research indicates that individual rates of depression may in fact correlate directly with the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in the brain. The more omega-6, the worse your mood may become.
According to the peer-reviewed journal, Complementary Therapies in Medicine, omega-3 fats help to reduce feelings of depression, nervousness, anxiety, and lack of concentration, plus bloating, headache and breast tenderness as they have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
The benefits of balance:
Many people eating the typical Western diet consume too many omega-6 and omega-9 fats from vegetable oils, fried foods and animal protein foods, but not enough omega-3 fats. Rebalancing the fatty acids in your diet may help to boost overall health, reduce symptoms of PMS and even improve the quality of your skin.
Aim to choose omega-3 rich seeds and nuts, oily fish if you’re a fish eater, and pop avocado onto salads and toast. It’s best to avoid excess high omega-6 foods, including most vegetable oils, shop-bought salad dressings and mayonnaise, fried foods, biscuits, cakes, pastries and muffins. As tasty as they are, they’re best enjoyed as an occasional treat!
These incredible nuts are shaped like little brains, and they also happen to hugely benefit our brains thanks to their high levels of omega-3 fats. The same fats are needed in your diet regularly to strengthen skin cell membranes and lock in moisture and nutrients to keep it looking youthful, plump and glowing.
The fats in walnuts can also help to prevent toxins from damaging skin cells, plus they reduce the inflammation that leads to breakouts, so healthy fats can mean fewer spots. Walnuts are delicious as a snack, sprinkled on porridge, salads, fruit and work well in dips and pesto recipes paired with basil or parsley.
As you know, healthy fats are essential, but it’s important not to go overboard with them. Protein and carbohydrates each have 4 calories per gram, but there are 9 calories in every gram of fat, so it can be easy to eat a lot of energy without realising it. Avoid adding too much oil to food, use low-fat cooking methods like steaming and baking, and be mindful of the quantities of the whole-food fats that you’ve eaten, like avocado, nuts and olives.
Aim for no more than a handful of nuts or half an avocado per day if you’re moderately active. A normal serving of whole or ground seeds is two tablespoons.