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December 14, 2007 • Brain Health, Healthy Eating & Nutrition

Go Fish!

Fish was featured prominently in this month’s nutrition science news.  According to 3 reports in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fish really is brain food! A Dutch study that included over 400 people, ages 50 to 70, found that those with the highest blood levels of omega 3 fats (the type of fat found in fish) had a slower decline in cognitive capacity over the 3 year study period vs. those with lower levels.  A second study of over 2400 people reported a robust and consistent relationship between blood levels of EPA (a type of omega 3 fat) and physical health.  A third study found that elderly folks who consumed more than 10 grams daily of fish had much higher test scores on cognitive ability than those who ate less than 10 grams daily.  Finally, French researchers reported in this month’s issue of the journal, Neurology, that older adults whose diets were high in omega 3 fats experienced less dementia than those whose diets were low in omega 3 fats. 

These studies lend strong support for current dietary recommendations to include at least 2 servings of fish a week, preferably the oily varieties like salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and lake trout.  Everyone should strictly avoid the large, carnivorous fish because of its high concentrations of environmental toxins.  These include shark, marlin, sword fish, king mackerel, and tile fish. 

One of my very favorite new “convenience foods” is single-serving pouches of shelf-stable wild Alaskan salmon.  I top my lunch salad at least 3 times a week with this super-healthy protein package.  Each 3 oz serving provides 1000 mg of omega 3 fat, 13 grams of protein, and over 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin D – all for just 120 calories!