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Is Fat On Your Hips Better for Your Brain than Fat On Your Belly?

January 24, 2008 | 45,473 views

HipsNew research suggests that women with an hourglass figure may on average be brighter and have more clever children.

A study found that women with large hips and small waists tend to be more intelligent than those with either “apple-shaped” or linear bodies. Such women may also tend to give birth to more intelligent children. One possible reason is the greater percentage of omega 3 fats found on the hips.

The study examined 16,000 women and girls, and found that women with a greater difference between the waist and hips scored significantly higher on cognitive tests, as did their children. Those with a waist-to-hip ratio between 0.6 and 0.7 achieved the highest scores.

Fat around hips and thighs holds higher levels of omega 3 fats, which are essential for the growth of the brain during pregnancy. Fat around the waist may have higher levels of omega 6 fats acids, which are less well suited to brain growth. Waist fat is also more likely to be a contributory factor in diabetes and heart disease.

 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Having a good waist-to-hip ratio is also better for your carotid arteries, which transport blood directly to your brain, and lowers your risk of a heart attack. In fact, it’s a better predictor of your chances of developing a heart attack than your overall weight. It had been theorized that a good waist-to-hip ratio was a marker of overall muscle mass; now it looks like the answer may be omega 3 fats.

Of course, it has long been known that omega 3’s have an effect on intelligence This is hardly surprising, since they are significant structural components of the cell membranes of your brain, as well as the retina, sperm, and other tissues throughout your body. Your brain is actually 60 percent structural fat, and an omega 3 deficiency can decrease membrane fluidity, which is essential for proper functioning of these tissues.

It is especially critical that infants receive adequate amounts of omega 3’s during fetal development, as well as after birth, until the biochemical development in the brain and retina is completed. Formula-fed infants have lower concentrations of omega 3’s in their brain than infants fed omega 3-rich human breast milk. They also have lower intelligence quotients.

And during pregnancy, both maternal stores and dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids are important to insure that the baby has adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids at the time of birth. Several studies have shown that when the maternal diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, the infant at birth is likewise deficient.

But omega 3’s are not just crucial for pregnant women and their children; as the recent study above shows, your omega 3 levels affect you throughout your life, preserving your brain function as well as protecting you from cardiac risks and other problems.

But generally, most diets contain not only far too little omega 3, but far too much omega 6 fats. The ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fats has increased in industrialized societies because of increased consumption of vegetable oils. Experts suggest that in early human history the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids was about 1:1. Currently most Americans eat a dietary ratio that falls between 20:1 and 50:1.

I strongly recommend avoiding conventional sources of omega-6 fats such as sunflower, corn, soy, safflower, and canola oil, and products that contain these oils. This also means no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, no margarine, no vegetable oil, and no shortening. These oils are mostly omega 6 fats and will only worsen your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. It is not that they are at all toxic, although one might make an argument for those that are produced from GM foods, but the central issue is that if you are already consuming 10-20 times as much as you need any additional amounts of these fats will only worsen the problem.

Acceptable oils include high-quality extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and organic butter... or better yet, grass-fed organic butter.

In addition to reducing your omega 6 intake, you will want to increase your omega 3 intake. Fatty fish would be the best source of omega 3, but unfortunately too many of them are tainted by deadly mercury. So I highly recommend taking krill oil as a good substitute.

In addition to making you smarter, it could also make you better looking!


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