Research has shown over the past decade that one of the most potent brain-boosting foods is fish — particularly the fatty kind. What’s so special about fatty fish? And why is this the one time you’ll actually hear nutritionists say, “The fattier the better?” Fatty fish contains DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that plays a critical role in your brain’s function.
One of the reasons fish oil plays such a big role in brain health and in the health of other organs like your heart is that many of the vitamins you need require fat to break them down. Vitamins A, E, D and K are all fat-soluble — so, if you don’t have healthy fat in your diet, very little vitamin A, E, D or K can get absorbed into your system!
In one clinical trial, researchers discovered that fish oil protected rats’ brains from age-related damage to the hippocampus. And, in another trial performed at the University of California, researchers found that DHA slows the progression of age-related dementia.
Now here’s some more good news about fish oil: it may be able to reduce the inflammation that can lead to diabetes.
Researchers at the University of California studied fat tissue in mice consuming fish oil. They found that omega-3 fatty acids seem to act on a particular receptor on cells (called GPR120), which, when activated, blocks inflammatory processes.
The research team notes that chronic inflammation can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. They concluded that, if fish oil could fix the inflammation part, it’s possible that insulin resistance could be prevented.
Believe the studies; if you eat fish regularly, your body will get a significant health boost. Some of the best sources of fatty fish are salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, halibut, trout, herring, cod, and whitefish. Keep in mind that eating fish fried in batter with a serving of fries is not really the way to go here. Buy fish fresh if you can and grill it at home. Most fish cook quickly and can easily be made into a tasty meal by adding some lemon, herbs, and a dash of pepper.