Fatty Fish Improves Brain Function in Mid-Life

Fatty Fish Improves Brain Function in Mid-Life
Netherlands’ Researchers from the Utrecht University Medical Center studied people who ate lots of foods rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, specifically fatty fish. This diet included fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and herring. The middle-aged participants in this research study generally had a lower risk for impaired brain functioning (19% less) and speed (28% less), compared to those who didn't follow a similar diet.

Researchers used sensitive cognitive tests, and saw an association between diet and mental ability. Dr. Sandra Kalmijn said, "It convinced me and reinforced for me the link we saw between lots of fish and cognitive function."

On the other hand, those people who ate diets high in cholesterol exhibited a significantly higher risk of impaired memory (27% higher) and impaired flexibility (26% higher). A high cholesterol diet has already been proven to be a health risk for the cardiovascular system. It is increasingly being implicated as a health risk for the brain by depositing B-amyloid proteins in the brain which may lead to the formation of the characteristic amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s. Although studies are still ongoing, eating more fish couldn’t hurt the brain, it could only help. At the very least it will improve heart health.

Because a decline in mental skills can appear many years before the onset of Alzheimer's disease, this study printed in the Jan 26, 2004 issue of Neurology asserts that researchers must continue to examine the effect of diet on cognitive functioning in middle age as a predictor of future brain health.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Southampton College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com

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