Brain Health and Fish
Are you concerned about mental decline? Whether you are worried about staying sharp at work or developing Alzheimer’s disease, studies suggest that eating certain types of fish may help you improve the health of your brain and protect your mental faculties. Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is one of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish. It plays a crucial role in brain health and brain function.
DHA is a complex fatty acid that builds brain-cell membranes. Your brain and nervous system tissues are partly made up of fat which is why they need a fatty acid like DHA. Your body needs DHA for your brain to function normally and efficiently. Low levels of DHA have been linked to serious mental problems such as a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The reason why mental decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease, tends to occur later in life is because your body produces less DHA as you age. That is why regularly eating fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (including DHA), such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel, is beneficial.
What scientists have to say about brain health and fish
According to Torey Armul, MS, RD, CSSD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Studies have shown that long-term consumption of adequate DHA is linked to improved memory, improved learning ability and reduced rates of cognitive decline.”
A 9-year study of 900 elderly women and men conducted by Ernst Schaefer, M.D., a research from Tufts University, supports Armul’s claim. According to reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle, Schaefer found that participants in his study who ate three servings of fish every week had a significantly lower risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Eating fish every once in a while isn’t enough to protect your mind from mental decline. Armul said, “Eating fish isn’t a quick fix for brain health, however. To reap the brain benefits of DHA, you need to maintain a consistent intake of DHA-rich foods, like fish, fish oil, algal supplements or other DHA-fortified foods, in your diet.”
How to protect your mental faculties as you age
Whether you want to improve your memory and learning ability or reduce the risk of mental decline as you age, it is important to begin incorporating DHA-rich foods into your diet. Eating foods that are full of omega-3 fatty acids at least three times a week is the best way to give your body the DHA that your brain needs. Studies show that taking health supplements, like fish oil pills, isn’t as effective as eating foods that are rich in the nutrients that your body needs.
The recommended serving size for fish is 4-ounces. There are many different types of fish that are rich in DHA that you can choose from such as wild salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines. Many of these fish are perfect for grilling and broiling.
If you want to reap the benefits of eating a diet rich in brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, stop by City Fish Market to pick up fresh fish for your dinner tonight! Browse our Pinterest for healthy recipes. You can also find cooking tips in our blog archive. Don’t worry if you aren’t used to cooking fish. Once you give it a try, you’ll realize how simple and easy it is.