It’s hunting season, and since I live in the MidWest and am an avid hunter myself; I thought we’d look at the benefits of meat this week. There is a fad in the US that eating vegetarian somehow=healthy. Wrong this is not so, true some vegetarians tend to be skinnier; but as we’ve looked at with skinny fat, looks are deceiving. It doesn’t help that the US government feeds us that bull shit about low-fat either. We are natural omnivores and fat is what helped our brains develop. The brain is 2/3 fat (mostly DHA and EPA). Brains that communicate with one another (neurons) are composed of a double-layer of fatty acid molecules (composed of dietary fats). When fat is eaten it is broken down into fatty acid molecules of various lengths. Myelin (the protective sheath around neurons) are 30% protein and 70% fat (one of the most common fats is oleic acid, found abundantly in human milk, yet another reason to breast feed). Myelin is crucial to cell communication! DHA and arachidonic acid (AA) are crucial to the development of the brain and eyes. A deficit of fatty acids at birth correlates to low birth weight and small head circumference, which are associated growth factors that influence later development of the central nervous system and cognitive ability. There are two kinds of essential fatty acids:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)- the foundation of which is the omega-3 family
- Linoleic acid (LA)- the foundation of which is the omega 6 family
From these the brain can make DHA and AA. A loss of DHA correlates to a decline in the structural and functional integrity of tissue. Often associated with higher rates of depression, as well. Tufts performed a study that demonstrated that low DHA was a risk factor for Dementia and Alzheimer’s. A ratio of 1:1 on omega-3 and omega-6 is crucial then. An imbalance may lead to a variety of mental disorders, brain allergies, and schizophrenia. Most Americans have a skewed ratio, with a dominate intake of omega-6. Paleolithic man’s brain developed by eating more fishing and by hunting wild game, which had more omega-3. Their neural connectivity depended on it. Availability of phospholipids (60% brain) and connections of neurons are made by phospholipid (rich in axons on dendrites). These rely on essential fatty acids (vital for cell function and neuronal signalling), that can only be obtained from a diet rich in animal protein. Hunting furthered brain power even more by initiating greater social interaction (it was easier to hunt in a group than alone), it requires some kind of communication, and increased memory function is needed to remember the way home or the food location. Both meat and hunting were a natural and essential part of our development, that enhanced our intellectual prowess and brain size!