A weekly fish dish could improve your brain health and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. To get the brain boost, the fish has to be baked or broiled, not fried, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh who found that consuming a serving of fish at least once a week seems to help preserve gray matter volume in areas of the brain at risk for Alzheimer’s.
The researchers looked at data from 260 cognitively normal adults responding to the National Cancer Institute’s Food Frequency Questionnaire. They found 163 patients who ate fish at least once a week (the majority of this group ate fish one to four times per week). All the patients underwent 3-D volumetric MRIs of the brain. The researchers then used a brain mapping technique that measures gray matter volume to track the relationship between weekly fish consumption at the study’s outset and then again 10 years later.
The findings indicated that eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week was positively associated with gray matter volume, suggesting that consuming fish promotes stronger neurons in gray matter, making them bigger and healthier and boosting brain resistance to Alzheimer’s disease.
We already know that populations that eat fish regularly live longer and have less chronic disease than populations that do not. Certainly, fish provides high-quality protein without the saturated fat present in meat and poultry. And some kinds of fish – specifically, oily fish from cold northern waters – also provide omega-3 fatty acids, the essential, unsaturated fats our bodies need for optimum health. Wild salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and bluefish are rich in omega 3s, as is – to a lesser extent – albacore tuna.