Wondering how to beef up your brain, not only to boost your learning power but also to protect against the risk of age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer’s? Read on for the latest news about the powerful impact regular fish consumption may have.
I write often about the relationship between diet and learning on Mission to Learn. If you want to be an effective learner, both day-to-day and over the long haul, you need to consistently eat in a way that supports both your physical and mental health. Among other things, that means making sure there is some good brain food in your diet.
Like me, you have probably heard since you were a kid that fish is the brain food. A growing amount of research has lent support to that belief in recent years, including a study recently published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, analyzed the relationship between regular fish consumption and brain structure in a group of 260 cognitively normal adults.
It turned out that adults who consumed baked or broiled (not fried) fish at least once a week had significantly higher grey matter volumes in parts of the brain tied to memory and cognition.
Interestingly, the positive impact of eating fish did not appear to be tied to the Omega 3 fatty acids found in many fish. While numerous research studies have shown a beneficial relationship between Omega 3 consumption and brain health, the results of this study did not vary based on Omega 3 levels. In other words, eating pretty much any type of fish – so long as it is not fried – is beneficial. You don’t have to focus on only those varieties with high Omega 3 levels (e.g., salmon, sardines).
If you haven’t been taking diet seriously as part of your lifelong learning strategy – and, in particularly, if you haven’t been getting some fish into your diet at least once a week – this study is one more piece of evidence that the time to start is now.
P.P.S – Here’s a new study that highlights the role that fish oil fatty acids can play in brain development and one that ties fish oils to health aging, including protecting against mental deterioration.