Eating Fish Preserves Your Memory, Says Study

By Gillie Houston Posted May 12, 2016

Just one serving of seafood a week could help prevent age-related memory loss, due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content.

Worried that your memory is deserting you? Some scientists think the solution is sitting on ice at the grocery store. A new study published in the journal Neurology suggests that just one serving of seafood a week could help prevent age-related memory loss, due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content.

The researchers at the Rush University Medical Center found that foods packed with the fatty acids can help preserve memory and cognition as you age. According to study author Martha Clare Morris, the results show "that while cognitive abilities naturally decline as part of the normal aging process, there is something that we can do to mitigate this process."

The study, which tested 915 adults with an average age of 81 over a five-year period, found that participants who reported eating fish at least once a week were less likely to show a decline in memory and perception than those who ate fish less frequently. Over the five-year period, the dementia-free adults were given a test once a year to monitor the gradual shift in their cognitive abilities. The areas of cognition tested included perceptual abilities, visuospatial skills and multiple types of memory. Those who reported a greater frequency of fish, lobster, crab, shrimp and other varities of seafood in their diets tended to show less of a decline in mental prowess over time.

The researchers concluded that consuming a higher amount of omega-3s, which support the structure of the brain, can bolster the brain's perception levels. These results go hand-in-hand with past research suggesting that omega-3s can actually increase the physical volume of the brain.

While a high-fish Mediterranean diet has been credited in the past with improved cognition and a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer's, the researchers in this study were able to zero in on which aspects of cognition benefited from the fatty acids. So, the next time you forget your keys or mix up your kids name, you can blame it on a lack of fishy foods in your diet.

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