Better Than Just Brain Food
It seems as though practically everybody’s grandmother used to say, “Fish is brain food.” Grandma was almost right… some fish may really be brain food. Even better, if you eat the right kind of fish, you could also boost your health in other ways, too.
Probably the best-known benefit is heart health.
For example, EPA and DHA – two Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish – may help lighten the load on your heart. An international research team found it promotes an increase in one measure of artery health of about a third.1
Fish oil rich in DHA appears to support a healthier heartbeat, too. Australian scientists also discovered it promotes a lower heart rate – even during moderate exercise.2
And a study published in Nutrition Reviews shows that EPA and DHA may help your body control blood levels of triglycerides – fats that can contribute to heart problems.3
EPA and DHA are stars in boosting heart health. But that’s not the only way they shine. Many studies show they support eye health, too.
Harvard researchers found that eating fish promoted lower risk of a common vision problem. Eating just two weekly servings rich in Omega-3’s resulted in 22% less risk.4
An analysis of the EUREYE study found even better results. In this study, people over 65 who ate the most oily fish, had a 32% lower risk. The researchers found even one serving a week promoted better eye health.5
Heart health… eye health… but what about the “brain food” claim? Well, here’s another piece of good news. Eating fish rich in Omega-3’s really seems to support clearer thinking.
Researchers recently looked at nearly 15,000 people in 7 countries. They found – in 6 countries out of 7 – people who ate the most fish rich in Omega-3’s were the least likely to lose their mental sharpness.6
Omega-3’s appear to boost memory, too. A study in Neurology reported just one or two servings of oily fish per week promotes a lower risk of certain causes of memory loss. Subjects in the study showed 26% lower risk with just 2 servings a week.7
So, which fish give you lots of healthy DHA and EPA? Herring, sardines, salmon, mackerel, rainbow trout … and even oysters. In fact, just 2 ounces of Chinook salmon provides a full gram of these healthy fats.
I recommend eating wild-caught fish whenever possible. Some studies have found that wild-caught fish contain more EPA and DHA than farmed fish.8 other studies have found higher levels of dangerous toxins in farmed fish.9
Just a couple of servings a week of wild-caught oily fish could give you a real boost. It’s a delicious way to “eat yourself healthy.”
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 Nestle P, et al. The n-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid increase systemic arterial compliance in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 76, No. 2, 326-330, August 2002.
2 Ninio DM, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid-rich fish oil improves heart rate variability and heart rate responses to exercise in overweight adults. Br J Nutr. 2008 Nov;100(5):1097-103. Epub 2008 Mar 13.
3 Musa-Veloso K, et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid dose-dependently reduce fasting serum triglycerides. Nutrition Reviews, Volume 68, Issue 3, pages 155–167, March 2010.
4 Seddon JM, et al. Cigarette smoking, fish consumption, omega-3 fatty acid intake, and associations with age-related macular degeneration: the US Twin Study of Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Arch Ophthalmol. 2006 Jul;124(7):995-1001.
5 Augood C, et al. Oily fish consumption, dietary docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid intakes, and associations with neovascular age-related macular degeneration. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 88, No. 2, 398-406, August 2008.
6 Albanese E, et al. Dietary fish and meat intake and dementia in Latin America, China, and India: a 10/66 Dementia Research Group population-based study. Am J Clin Nutr, August 2009, vol. 90, no. 2, 392-400.
8 T. Sérot, et al. Lipid and fatty acid compositions of muscle from farmed and wild adult turbot. Aquaculture International, Volume 6, Number 5, 331-343.
9 Shaw SD, et al. PCBs, PCDD/Fs, and Organochlorine Pesticides in Farmed Atlantic Salmon from Maine, Eastern Canada, and Norway, and Wild Salmon from Alaska. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2006, 40 (17), pp 5347–5354.