food health mental health

Eating Fish for Brain Health

Eating Fish for Brain Health

Do you include fish as part of your regular diet?  If not, now’s a great time to start!  Fatty fish, especially salmon, is high in omega-3 fats and DHA, which are both excellent for your overall health, but especially for the brain.

The brain is made of mostly fat, about 60% of your brain tissue is made up of fatty acids.  Two thirds of these fatty acids are DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that we aren’t able to make inside of our bodies.  Since we can’t make it ourselves, we have to get it from food, for which salmon is ideal.  Salmon is the biggest source of DHA that we can get, though other fatty fish does have some.  You can choose sardines, tuna, or swordfish, and still get a good boost of DHA.  For vegetarians, adding algae in the form of chlorella and spirulina is a great option, as this seems to be one of the only ways DHA is available in non-fish sources.

DHA is what enables our brains to process information quickly and accurately.  With enough DHA in our brains, we can learn new skills (and remember names), as well as recall older memories.  As DHA decreases as we age, we become susceptible to memory loss, unbalanced moods, slowed thinking, and even more severe diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Some extra perks of choosing salmon are that its unique protein composition can help to maintain joint health, and improve insulin sensitivity, which are both things that we need a bit more of as we start to get older.

Wild Alaskan salmon seems to be the best choice, as it appears to be the least contaminated with mercury and other substances.  Fish from farms also tend to be pretty clean, as their water and foods are tightly controlled.  Avoid larger, older fish, as they have had more time to consume more contaminated prey.  Add salmon into 2-3 meals each week to start to see the benefits from this tasty and nutritious fish.

 

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