You have a fat brain! That’s not an insult, nor is it fat shaming. You’re supposed to have a fat brain: you brain is composed of around 60%, even better if closer to 70% fat. So, the question is: is that fat in your brain optimum, so you can think clearly, be mentally well, and live longer without mental deterioration? This is important, because without the right fat, your mental — as well as your whole body — health is at risk.
There are over 300 known fatty acids. We don’t need to analyze all of them, because there is a much smaller number of dietary fatty acids that we need in our diets. Your body can break down dietary fats into fatty acid components, and it can also make some fatty acids from dietary carbohydrates. However, it cannot manufacture certain fatty acids that must come directly from food.
Breakdown of fats
One way of categorizing fatty acids is by their chemical makeup: the length of the chemical chain and the types of bonds in those chains. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have two to six carbon atoms, with all but one being in the characteristic fatty acid chemical “tail” — SCFAs are typically produced in the gut through fermentation by gut bacteria of otherwise undigestible food. Medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) have a tail of 6 to 12 carbon atoms, long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs) have 13 – 21 carbon tails, and very long chain fatty acids (VLCFAs) have 22 or more carbons.
Fatty acids can also be classified by their bonding pattern. Saturated fats all have single bonds, and they have as many hydrogen molecules attached to the chain as they can hold, thus making them “saturated.” These fats come from all animal meats and products, as well as some tropical oils, and are generally solid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats, as you can guess, have less hydrogen — this happens because they have two or more double bonded carbon atoms, using their total available bonds on fewer hydrogen atoms. Unsaturated fats are divided into two subcategories: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) have one unsaturated, or double, carbon bond — these are oils that are liquid at room temperature but solidify at chilly temperatures. Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) contain two or more carbon double bonds.
Saturated fats are more shelf-stable than other fats because they cannot take any more hydrogen, so they degenerate less easily at room temperature. You’ve likely heard that saturated fats are unhealthy. Not only are animal fats saturated, including animal products like milk fat and butter, but also are some tropical fats. Generally, saturated fats cause a rise in cholesterol levels. But not all saturated fats are equal. Coconut contains 92% saturated fat, and it appears to raise cholesterol, but it raises the “good” HDL cholesterol along with LDL, because its fat is primarily a medium chain saturated fatty acid called lauric acid. HDL is good because it carries LDL back to the liver to be broken down at a rate of four to one, so one HDL counteracts four LDL. By raising HDL, coconut provides a much healthier saturated fat than animal fats.
There is another category of fats, one which should not be a category because it does not generally exist in nature. That is the so-called “trans fat” category. Here, normal double bonds of an unsaturated fat are replaced with hydrogen single bonds, forcing the fats into saturation that changes the shape of the whole fat molecule. This is done by “partial hydrogenation” in food processing. Now that they are “fake” saturated fats, they become as shelf stable as other saturated fats. This characteristic made them very popular with the food industry, because trans-fat products could remain on the grocery store shelves for months and not become rancid. Fortunately they are less popular with consumers, because the word has gotten out that they are dangerous. Because the hydrogenation changes the shape of the fat molecule, as your body incorporates them into your cells, it is using inferior building blocks which weaken your cell structures.
You’ve also heard of omega fatty acids. Except for omega-7, which is monounsaturated, omega fatty acids are polyunsaturated. You may have heard that omega-3 is vital, and most Americans don’t get enough of omega-3. Omega-3 and -6 are considered essential fatty acids, as your body cannot manufacture them because the double bonds of these omegas are energetically stable — they cannot be transformed in the human body — so they must come from foods. But there are other omegas: 7, 9 and 12 in particular. Your body can manufacture these other omegas; however, it may not do so in sufficient quantities and you still need some from food.
You may know that most Americans get lots of omega-6’s, because they are abundant in vegetable oils which are used in most foods. You may not know that high heat damages the omega’s, and most food processing uses high heat, so the omegas you get may already be oxidized and giving you an unhealthy supply of free radicals. Omega–6 is the only omega that most of us are getting in abundance, but is it oxidized by heat? If you try to supplement omega-3 with cooked or canned fish, you are likely also getting free radicals from the cooking and processing, plus toxins from the fish.
Are omegas important? Studies indicate that they are. While many concentrate on the value of omega-3 for the brain, all the omegas are valuable for brain health, and the others should not be neglected. Published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers from the University of Illinois investigated the effect of many different food nutrients on brain function, particularly in aging. They took a large data fusion approach to investigate the combined effects of nutrients, rather than single nutrients in isolation. They found that the combination of omega-6, -7, and -9, plus some saturated fats, had the strongest influence on preserving gray-matter volumes in aging adults. They noted that sources of these nutrients include nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Your whole body needs good fats, the types abundantly available from plants. As published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers note that vegetarians and vegans are at reduced risk of ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and obesity. They note that these diets tend to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and provide better glucose control. Plant-based diets are good for your whole body, but your brain is especially susceptible to the quality of fat in your diet. Avocados are a particularly good food, providing the full range of omegas, with monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and some healthy saturated fat. Brain food! A variety of raw uncooked nuts, seeds, and uncooked raw olives are also excellent sources of omegas.
Natural is best
Cooking — meaning applying any heat — and processing damages fats. Supplementation doesn’t provide the many sterols and phytonutrients that the natural foods provide. To really get the value of the fats, it’s best to get them in raw form, uncooked and unprocessed, the way they appear in nature. To have a sharp mind as you age, fatten up your brain with a good, natural, raw plant-based diet.
Dr. Nemec’s Review
The body needs fat, equal to if not more than protein. The big hype in this country is you need more protein! This is usually not the case as most people eat excessive protein in the United States, more than practically any country in the world, yet they’re ranked approximately number 25 in world health. The countries that eat far less protein have much greater longevity and are overall healthier.
Most people think fat is bad for them because the media has promoted this for many years. This is true and false: certain fats are potentially negative if consumed in excess, but also other fats are extremely beneficial, especially when consumed in excess.
What are the harmful fats?
As we noted, cooked animal fats are not only loaded with saturated fatty acids which increase cholesterol, increase risk of heart attack and stroke, but also are not good for your cell membranes, which is the life of the cell. If you weaken your cell membranes with wrong fat choices, the cells die prematurely or turn malignant.
What are the wrong fat choices?
- Trans fats are artificially processed fats for shelflife, but are disastrous for cell health and for brain health. This could be likened to eating plastic and storing it in your cell membranes: not only very free radical forming, but stored permanently in the cell, shortening its life.
- Cooked animal saturated fats are cooked animal products, which oxidizes fatty acids and makes them very inflammatory: to the cells, by inflaming and weakening the cell membranes; and even more importantly, to the brain, which leads to more cognitive dysfunction and memory loss.
- Cooked animal unsaturated fats, which are in all animal products, are highly inflammatory. One in particular — arachidonic acid which promotes prostaglandin 2 production — is an extremely inflammatory molecule.
- Saturated plant fats, which are in coconuts and coconut oil. These are far better saturated fats. They are not inflammatory, and as we’ve stated they do raise the cholesterol somewhat, but they also raise the HDL cholesterol which keeps the total cholesterol rise balanced. These types of saturated fats are high in lauric acid, which has a strong immune boosting function.
- Omega six, seven, and nine are the unsaturated fatty acids found in most plant fats. As the University of Illinois study showed, these fats are among the best for brain health, especially when they are uncooked and unprocessed — and avocados are the ideal source for this category of omega fatty acids. The journal of nutrition article stated “Study participants who scored higher on the memory tests tended to have larger gray-matter volumes and higher levels of markers of omega-6, -7 and -9 fatty acids in their blood. The research went on to say that those who did worse on the cognitive tests also had smaller gray-matter volumes in those same brain regions and lower levels of the same omega-6, -7 and -9 fatty acids in their blood.
What these studies confirm is that a plant-based diet high in plant fats that are not cooked or processed is the healthiest food for your brain and your memory. This is why it’s imperative to get avocados, uncooked, unheated, unroasted, unground raw flaxseed, and hemp seeds into your diet. Your brain and cell membranes depend upon it.
Other important fatty acids for health are the SCFAs that are typically produced in the gut through fermentation by gut bacteria of otherwise undigestible food. This is the byproduct of having plenty of raw uncooked plant fiber in your intestinal tract. This serves two purposes: first and foremost, this promotes beneficial intestinal bacteria, which aid in digestion and promoting a healthy intestinal track. These short chain fatty acids produced by the fermentation of uncooked plant fiber like in salads, greens, vegetables, and fruits that have not been cooked — these types of fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including: anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anti-obesity, anti-diabetes, anticancer, cardiovascular protective, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective activities.
Are you starting to understand the power of a living raw plant-based diet?
Why do you think the animals like elephants that eat living plants — mostly living greens — become very large, very strong, very muscular, and obviously very healthy?
Let’s look at a gorilla that eats this type of diet. Each is approximately, on average, 575 pounds of pure muscle.
Where did we ever get the idea and belief that one needs animal protein and animal fats to be healthy, big, strong and athletic? The same place we get most of our information: from skewed media paying for biased research to promote the business and sale of meat, egg and dairy in the United States. This false information started in the 1940s and unfortunately most people still believe it today.
It’s time to open our eyes and clean up our brains so they function optimally, and this is done with living and raw plant fats, plant fibers, and plant phytonutrients and phytochemicals found in a living raw plant-based diet.
The worst way to die in this world is to depart not knowing who you are, not knowing your loved ones — those loved ones who are forced to take care of you, many times for years, because you developed dementia, senility, or Alzheimer’s disease. This is why you want to choose the living raw plant-based diet: you not only owe it to yourself, but even more importantly, you owe it to your family!
Here are the ways we can help you in your health journey:
- Outpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-has the most benefit of teaching, treatment, live classes and personalized coaching. This program has the most contact with Dr. Nemec with 3- 6 month programs that can be turned into a regular checking and support program for life. This is our core program that has helped so many restore their health and maintain that restoration for years.
- Inpatient Comprehensive Teaching and Treatment Program-is our four-week intensive inpatient program for those that are not in driving distance, usually over 4 hour drive. This is the program that is an intensive jumpstart with treatment, teaching, live classes and coaching designed for all our international patients along with those in the US that do not live in Illinois. This program is very effective especially when combined with our new membership program support.
- Stay at Home Program-is offered to continental US patients who cannot come to Total Health Institute but still want a more personal, customized plan to restore their health. This program also includes our Learn Membership Program.
- Membership Program is our newest program offered for those that want to work on their health at a high level and want access to the teaching at Total Health Institute along with the Forums: both Dr. Nemec’s posts and other members posting. And also, to have the chance to get personalized questions answered on the conference calls which are all archived in case you miss the call. The Membership Program has 3 levels to choose from: Learn, Overcome and Master. The difference is at the Overcome and Master levels you received one on one calls with Dr. Nemec personalizing your program for your areas of focus.