I’m always reporting on the many health benefits of fish and fish oil.
In fact, I recently shared the powerful impact that eating just two servings of fish per week can have on heart health and longevity.
And now, new research reveals what it can do for your brain health, too.
This latest research is music to my ears, as I recently stocked up on some late-season swordfish, tuna, striped bass, cod, and flounder at my local farmer’s market.
But before I get busy in the kitchen, let’s look at what these researchers found…
Slam the brakes on brain damage
This study looked at more than 1,600 people over the age of 65, none of whom had dementia, stroke, or a history of heart disease. Researchers performed brain scans to assess for three different vascular disease markers with strong links to cognitive decline and dementia.
The first marker detected white matter changes. On a scan, these look like hyperintensities, or bright spots. But they’re actually small lesions on the brain. These are very common as we age, and they’re often related to high blood pressure and/or diabetes.
The second marker was covert infarcts, or cavities in the brain. And the third was enlarged perivascular spaces—which are areas in the brain tissue that are filled with fluid. Researchers used these markers to measure the degree of underlying brain disease.
Meanwhile, subjects completed dietary questionnaires. Responses revealed the average fish consumption to be about two times per week. (Just over ten percent ate fish less than once weekly, 37 percent ate fish once weekly, nearly half ate fish two to three times per week, and six percent ate fish four or more times weekly.)
Among subjects who ate no fish at all, nearly a third had markers of severe vascular brain disease. That’s compared to only 23 percent among those who ate three servings a week, and 18 percent among those who ate four or more servings of fish weekly.
Simple, powerful protection
This study found that a fish-rich diet was most protective among people younger than 75 years old. But to hopefully give a more concrete idea of just how big of an effect this was, let me explain it a bit differently…
Among younger subjects between the ages of 65 and 69, eating two to three servings of fish per week was as beneficial to brain health as having high blood pressure would be harmful. And eating fish four or more times per week was twice as protective.
If you think this isn’t a big deal, think again. This study clearly showed that something as simple as adding a little extra fish into your diet every week may slash your risk of vascular brain damage, long before more obvious signs of dementia show up.
That’s why I encourage everyone to enjoy wild-caught fish and seafood as often as possible. (In fact, I recently shared how to simply prepare and enjoy swordfish on a recent episode of Cooking with Dr. Fred. Be sure to check it out!)
I also have to wonder if these same brain benefits would be observed by supplementing with fish oil? Either way, taking a high-quality fish oil every day is still a smart idea. I recommend a daily dose of 3,000 mg of EPA/DHA, no matter what’s on your dinner plate.
For additional ways to protect and restore your memory, strengthen focus, and fight dementia, check out my Alzheimer’s Prevention and Treatment Plan. To learn more about this innovative, online learning tool—or to enroll today—click here now!
“Study: Two or More Servings of Fish Per Week May Protect Healthy Brains.” American Academy of Neurology, 11/03/2021. (aan.com/PressRoom/Home/PressRelease/4933)