Is Your Diet Making Your Brain Smaller?

shrinking brain

Would you be surprised to know studies have shown that human brains have got smaller over the last century?

This change has been put down to our changed diet which is no longer supplying us with enough of the things vital for optimum brain function.

One really important thing that has changed is the quality of fat in the average Western diet.

In fact both fat and cholesterol are hugely important to the health and functioning of your brain.

You Have a Lot of Fat and Cholesterol in Your Brain

Most of your brain is water, but when you look at the dry weight – up to 70-80% of it is fat. About a quarter of this fat is omega 3 fats, in fact your body’s highest concentration of omega 3 is in your brain. Half of the fat in your brain is saturated fat (so it can’t be that bad for you).

The other interesting thing is that your brain occupies only about 2% of your body’s mass but 25% of the cholesterol in your body is in your brain. This suggests it isn’t as evil as it’s often made out to be these days.

Enough cholesterol is really important for healthy brain function, in particular memory. It’s interesting that some of the more common side effects of cholesterol lowering drugs, like statins, are reduced focus and memory. Find out more here.

Deficiencies Are At the Route of the Problem

Omega 3 fats are probably the most commonly deficient nutrient in the Western diet. Our ancestors got good supplies of these by eating naturally grass-fed animals and wild-caught fish. These days people eat mostly farmed animals and fish that haven’t been fed on a natural diet, so these creature end up deficient of omega 3 fats.

This goes some way to explain why a study* showed as much as 10% of human brain size has been lost in the last century. However, there is more to it and I will continue with this next week.

Please share if you’ve enjoyed this post.

Have an Uber Healthy week

Dr Julie

*Leonard et al – Metabolic Correlates of Hominid Brain Evolution

PS Congratulations to Charumitra for winning May’s free place on Uber Slim, my online weight loss program.

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