Fish belongs in the category of foods that make you smarter. But, according to a brand new study, it also belongs in the brain protection category. Because people who eat fish, cooked in these two ways, may be reducing their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers found that people who eat baked or broiled fish every week can boost their brain health and lower their risk of Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
It is believed to be the first ever study to directly link fish consumption with brain structure and Alzheimer’s risk. Just one serving of fish a week (lower than the generally recommended amount of two) led to better preservation of gray matter in the brain areas where Alzheimer’s disease tends to strike.
Alzheimer’s is an incurable, progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and cognitive skills. More than five million Americans may have it. In MCI, memory loss is present but to a lesser extent than in Alzheimer’s disease. But MCI often leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
So, to that study. Researchers took 260 healthy adults and gathered information on fish consumption. Of them, 163 ate fish on a weekly basis; the majority one to four times per week. The researchers then tried to determine if preserved gray matter linked with fish consumption reduced Alzheimer’s risk. When gray matter volume is higher, the brain is stronger, healthier.
So, they found that consuming baked or broiled fish was positively associated with gray matter volumes in three key areas of the brain. It reduced the risk for MCI or Alzheimer’s by almost five-fold.
Essentially, the fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s gray matter by making them larger and healthier. The results also demonstrated increased levels of cognition in people who ate the fish. This included working memory, which allows people to focus on tasks and commit information to short-term memory. Working memory is destroyed by Alzheimer’s. But people who ate fish each week had higher levels of working memory.
One note to tartar sauce lovers: fried fish (the hallmark of fish and chips) was not shown to boost brain volume or protect against cognitive decline. So, boiled or baked it is. For more on the wrong fish to eat, read the article, The Unhealthiest Fish You Can Eat