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Fat on the Brain: The Health Benefits of Fresh Seafood

Feb 17, 2021 | Bozeman MT Restaurant

fat on the brain - fresh seafood
Chefs use fat in so many ways.  We love adding flavor or texture to a dish with a judicious swig of extra virgin olive oil.  Preserving fresh herbs and submerging slow cooked meats under a layer of fat protects those products or at least delays their cellular breakdown.  But beyond the delicious variety of uses for fats there is a very important reason to pay attention to which fats you consume and where you find them.  

There are many documented health benefits related to fresh seafood and ocean products; seaweeds, cephalopods, shellfish, and finfish all provide their respective assortment of vitamins and nutrients as well as fats.  But arguably the most important reason to make fresh seafood a part of a healthy diet has to do with brain health.  

Our brains are mostly fat!  60% of the brain’s net weight is made up of fatty substances called lipids, and about half of these lipids are the polyunsaturated fats, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids.  Because our bodies can produce only a limited amount, these fatty acids are labeled as essential and we must supplement them with our food.  The majority of the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the brain are the very long-chain and super-unsaturated fatty acids: arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  The omega-6 fatty acid AA can be obtained from animal products such as meat, liver, and eggs.  So where can one find the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA?  In your seafood dinner! Salmon— especially sockeye— mackerel, tuna, and cod all have large percentages of both EPA and DHA.

These fatty acids are required for brain formation.  In utero the embryo actually draws on so many of these essential super-unsaturated fats that the brain of the mother is reduced by 3-5% in the last three months of the pregnancy.  Once we are adults with a fully developed nervous system and brain there is little we can do to make our brains bigger or more complex.  But there is every reason to suppose that we can maintain our nerve and brain functions at an optimal level for a longer time as we age by ensuring that we ingest sufficient DHA and AA in equal amounts.  Research shows that individuals who eat fish and fresh seafood dishes regularly sharpen their brains’ efficiency and memory.

At Feast Raw Bar & Bistro, we source the highest quality and most delicious fish that are naturally high in DHA and EPA.  We know how important it is to feed our customers’ brains as well as their bellies and souls.  We cherish the feast of conversations that come from healthy minds.

For a more in depth discussion of this topic I recommend Ole G. Mouritsen’s beautiful book “Sushi: Food for the Eye, the Body, and the Soul.” 

Visit us at Feast to enjoy our full selection of the finest fresh seafood in Bozeman. Reserve your table or order takeout tonight.

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