Your Mother Was Right: Fish Helps You Think-Across the Lifespan

Coconut Telegraph

SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY MAY 13, 2020

Nutrition is a core protective factor to promoting brain health and fighting brain illness. Throughout our BRAIN HEALTH BOOST! series, the Brain Health Initiative provides information to support your nutritional health-boosting your mood, thinking, immunity, energy level, sleep, stress resilience and overall physical health. Nutrition makes a difference.

The Brain Health Initiative and researchers from around the world have been studying and taking action on a variety of different lifestyle factors to protect your brain health and optimize your daily performance across the lifespan. Further, the scientists and clinicians investigate factors that reduce your risk of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia as well as other brain illness.

In fact, researchers have been trying to determine the key parts of diet for years. The old news about nutrition and brain health is that the Mediterranean diet is beneficial. As we have shared in previous BOOSTS, numerous studies show a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, fish, and whole grains improves cognitive performance. That is all still important, but no study has been able to determine the critical components of the Mediterranean diet that makes it so good for your brain — until now.

The National Institutes of Health evaluated the lifestyles of over 7,750 participants and followed them for five to 10 years. Participants filled out questionnaires to determine their eating habits, and participated by phone in cognitive tests of memory, language, and attention. The data was used to determine the dietary factors most important in lowering your risk of cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.

The new news is your mother was right: fish is good for you. Fish was the single most important dietary factor in lowering the risk of cognitive impairment. Vegetables were second best, and all other foods showed smaller, insignificant effects. Moreover, of all the foods evaluated, only fish was associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. Eating fish lowered the risk of both cognitive impairment and cognitive decline.

Andrew E. Budson, MD, Chief of Cognitive & Behavioral Neurology at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System and lecturer in neurology at Harvard Medical School, says the take away from this study is to reduce your risk of cognitive impairment and decline, eat a Mediterranean-style diet including fish several times per week.

Click for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration guide to eating seafood.

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