Let’s talk about DHA, a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that is responsible for helping brain and eye development. And, while there is a lot to know about omega-3 and 6, DHA’s role in brain development is one of the more important bits of information. There’s a lot of research out there about the significance of DHA, but I’m going to put it in layman’s terms. It can get a bit complicated.
What is DHA?
DHA is one of three common omega-3s, and there’s a reason why it’s called an essential fatty acid. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) plays a significant role in both brain development and maintenance as the brain takes up and processes it much faster than any other fatty acid. Nowhere is the fatty acid more prevalent than your command centre, and the more you have the better. It’s as if the brain prefers it over any other omega-3. I guess you can say that it’s brain food.
The omega-3 fatty acid’s role in brain development begins before birth, which is why it’s critical for pregnant women, new mothers who are breastfeeding, and toddlers to have a consistent diet that includes a healthy amount DHA. But, it’s just as important for everyone else to include omegas in their diets as brain tissue has the highest concentration of it in the body!
Here’s what it can help with
In children, deficiency of DHA is associated with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, unipolar depression, and aggressive hostility, and mitigating these to the best of your ability as early as possible is necessary. In adults, it’s been linked to Alzheimer’s and other common cognitive impairments.
With the back-to-school season coming up, it’s important that you’re monitoring your children’s diet. It can already be difficult for children to stay focused and do well under academic pressure (yes, kids feel it too!). Kids with high levels of the fatty acid are found to do better on tests, have better memory, and generally have better focus.
Great sources of DHA
Fatty fish low in mercury, fish oil, and fish oil supplements are your best sources of DHA. Try sardines or salmon, for example. The fatty acid is most prominent in seafood and it’s recommended you have at least 2-3 three ounce healthy servings seafood a week to satisfy your body’s DHA requirement. If you don’t eat seafood, fish oil supplements are your best bet. Since omegas are food based, it’s hard to find a plant-based supplement that actually works.
If you’re looking for looking for brain food, look no further than foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, especially fish and fish oil supplements. Not only will it help with focusing, it’ll also improve cognitive functions and help reverse many common impairments that come with age. DHA is critically important for everyone. Your brain is the most complex organ in your body and DHA will help you develop and maintain it well.