Why humans can’t thrive on plants alone
Georgia Ede MD, Mar 31, 2019
| Psychology Today – When you think of animal fat, what comes to mind?
Unsightly blobs of cellulite? Artery-clogging strips of gristle to be trimmed off your steak and tossed into the trash? Or a sophisticated substance that contains within it the secret to human intelligence?
We think of fat as bad—the less of it we eat, and the less of it we carry on our bodies, the better—but this isn’t the right way to think about it.
Fat is not just for insulation and energy storage, it’s also for nutrient absorption, cell signaling, immune function and many other critical processes. Why Are NASA Astronauts Getting Herpes?
All whole plant and animal foods naturally contain a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats.
Some plant foods are higher in saturated fat than animal foods, with coconut oil topping the charts at 90 percent saturated fat. That’s more than twice the saturated fat found in beef fat (tallow).
But here’s the rub: we actually need a specific set of brain-healthy fats – none of which exist in plant foods …
Our brains are extremely rich in fat. About 2/3 of the human brain is fat, and a full 20% of that fat is a very special essential omega-3 fatty acid called DHA.
DHA’s job description is a lengthy one. Among many other functions, DHA participates in the formation of myelin, the white matter that insulates our brain circuits.
It also helps maintain the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which keeps the brain safe from unwanted outside influences.
Without DHA, the highly sophisticated connections necessary for sustained attention, decision-making, and complex problem-solving do not form properly.
It has been hypothesized that without DHA, consciousness and symbolic thinking—hallmarks of the human race—would be impossible. Read more.
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