If you do not eat much fish, you should seriously reconsider. It is great low calorie protein rich food perfect for any weight loss diet. It is very rich in good fats, important for maintaining low cholesterol. And now, with the results of the latest research, it seems that fish can also slow down ageing of our brain.
The results of the recent study published in the February issue of Neurology show that omega-3 fatty acids normally found in fatty fish play important role in the speed our brain ages. Scientists from the UCLA Department of Neurology found that brains of people with lower levels of omega-3 acids appear to be two years older than brains of people whose diet includes abundant fish.
The study was conducted on more than 1500 people in average 67 years old. They had MRI brain scans and completed a number of written tests. The results show that people who were found with lower level of omega-3 fatty acids also scored 25 percents lower on problem solving tests and tests checking abstract thinking and multi-tasking.
Scientists also found physical changes in brains of people with low omega-3. Their brains had higher hyperintensity volume in their white matter, as well as small lesions, which made them at increased risk of stroke, dementia and early death.
Two of the most important omega-3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are found in largest concentration in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines. DHA is found to also increase brain blood circulation, to reduce accumulation of toxic amyloid in the brain and to reduce brain inflammation. There are some indications that DHA helps improve mood and reduce signs of depression.
While fatty fish is the biggest source of omega-3 acids, alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) contained in soybeans, walnuts, canola and vegetable oil and green vegetables such as spinach, salad greens and kale gets converted by our body into EPA and DHA acids. Unfortunately, Americans do not take enough of any of these sources of omega-3 acids.
The findings reported in the Neurology magazine are new, but we have known for a long time that fish is rich source of essential minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc and selenium. Fish is easy to prepare in thousands of different ways, and two fish meals a week will give you all the omega-3 fatty acids you need. Stay away from deep fried fish if you are trying to lose weight. Try marinating fish steaks or filets with some soy sauce, lemon and olive oil and throw it on a grill for a few minutes. With a nice green salad, you got yourself a feast.