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Eating Fish for Brain Health

seafood for brain healthHave you ever wondered how you can keep your brain in good shape as you age? Research suggests that eating fish at least once a week might be the answer.

The possibility that you might forget your loved ones or lose memories is a terrifying risk as you age. Even the thought of losing some of your cognitive abilities can be frightening. Multiple research studies suggest that you can reduce these risks by incorporating fish into your regular diet.

According to Dr. Cyrus Raji, a resident radiologist at UCLA, “If you eat fish just once a week, your hippocampus—the big memory and learning center—is 14 percent larger than in people who don’t eat fish that frequently. 14 percent. That has implications for reducing Alzheimer’s risk…In the orbital frontal cortex, which controls executive function, it’s a solid 4 percent,” Raji said. “I don’t know of any drug or supplement that’s been shown to do that.”

Dr. Raji was a lead researcher in a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on “Regular Fish Consumption and Age-Related Brain Gray Matter Loss.” The study he was a part of concluded that consuming fish regularly is a lifestyle factor that can improving late-life brain health: protecting against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive decline.

What this study revealed is that eating fish regularly literally bulks up your brain. It boosts your brain’s gray matter in the hippocampus, precuneus, posterior cingulate, and orbital frontal cortex. Just as building muscles strengthens your body, building grey matter strengthens your brain and protects it against age-related mental decline. A unique finding in this study was that the benefits of eating fish did not come from only the omega-3 fatty acids in it. It suggests that all of the nutrients in fish, not only the omega-3 fats, are beneficial.

Studies out of Scotland and Sweden have demonstrated similar benefits. According to the Scottish study, people who eat oil-rich fish such as trout, herring, mackerel and salmon on a regular basis also have a higher IQ level of up to 13% than people who never eat fish.

Fish for Brain HealthThe cognitive benefits of eating fish aren’t limited to older people. Other studies have demonstrated that eating fish during pregnancy improves children’s brain development. According to one study, children whose mothers ate fish regularly during pregnancy have better verbal and social skills by the time they are eight years old in comparison to children whose mothers never ate fish. Researchers conducting a different study learned that children who regularly ate fish high in omega-3 fatty acids had improved motor skills, and better general coordination. Children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyslexia regularly displayed improvements in their reading skills and attention span when on a diet with omega-3 rich fish.

If you want to improve your brain health and protect your mind from declining as you age, the science is clear: eat fish at least once a week! You can pick of fresh, sustainable fish from City Fish Market. Check out our Pinterest for recipes!

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