The fats you feed children as they grow will expand or limit their potential intelligence. This is because the brain is 60% to 70% fat and the right raw materials from food are critical to building a complex, highly functioning brain.
The very structure of the brain itself – both the brain cells and the communication mechanisms between brain cells – are built from fat. If the right fats are not supplied at critical stages of development, brain structure is altered, impeding the brain’s ability to function.
“Fats are built into the structure of your child’s brain. The right balance of fats influence how intelligent your child becomes later in life. Without the right building blocks – including healthy sources of saturated fats and essential fatty acids like Omega 3s and DHA – your child won’t reach their full potential. Fats are that important,” according to Seattle Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Lead Instructor for the Nutritional Therapy Association, John Tjenos.
That said, the brain is very particular about the kind of fat used in its construction. Highly processed fats, like trans-fat and hydrogenated oils, impair optimal function.
“Fat is a structural nutrient that is literally incorporated into the brain the way a brick is incorporated into a wall. Good bricks make for better walls. If you want smooth thinking, fast processing and good mood, you will want the best raw materials,” according to pediatric nutritionist and author of “What’s Eating Your Child” Kelly Dorfman. http://whatseatingyourchild.com/
Tjenos further explains that optimal communication between cells is dependent upon the quality of the fats provided. “Fats are critical for making new connections. Here’s the math. More connections = more ideas, memories, feelings, intelligence and physical coordination,” Tjenos said.
“A lack of necessary dietary fats, especially saturated fats, can impair the fatty tissues which coat the brain’s wiring, causing uncontrolled or rapid fire impulses in the brain, which presents as ADD or ADHD. If a child’s diet doesn’t contain these fats, brain tissue doesn’t form or it forms incorrectly,” Tjenos explained.
This is because if the wrong fats are available, your body will use them to build and operate the brain. “The results you get are similar to using inferior materials to build your house. Our builder used interior grade plywood to frame our windows outside so they rotted and leaked,” Dorfman said.
What are the optimal fats for brain development? Your child needs DHA (Omega 3s) and saturated fats, found in fatty fish and grass-fed meat. This chart helps clarify the best fats to feed your child.