Several new studies have looked at the health of the brain, as well as memory and learning, and it seems inclusion of fish in your diet is an important component.
Studies have looked at fish intake and its impact on memory, learning and even mood. While the extent of research is still limited, studies do show that those who eat fish more often, many studies indicate at least once a week, have greater brain volume.
Researchers suggest that the impact of fish on the brain is related to the Omega-3 fatty acid content of the fish. Omega-3 fatty acids help increase blood flow, fight inflammation and prevent accumulation of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s.
It is well documented that fatty fish helps protect the heart and arteries from diseases including elevated blood pressure and triglycerides, cardiac arrhythmia’s and stroke and it is this research that is the basis for current diet recommendations. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommended the inclusion of two servings, or eight ounces, of fish per week but unfortunately Americans barely consume 16 pounds of fish per year.
While there is no official Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for omega-3 fatty acids, current scientific studies indicate 250 milligrams per day is the amount needed to provide health benefits. This amount is the basis of the current Dietary Guidelines recommendation of eight ounces of fish each week.
For the sake of your heart, possibly your brain and eyes, make it your goal to add more fish to your eating plan this week.
Fish that provides more Omega-3 include the following:
- Arctic char — 139 mg/3 ounces
- Herring — 181 mg/3 ounces
- Mackerel — 102-157 mg/3 ounces (depends on origin)
- Opah/Moonfish — 135 mg/3 ounces
- Salmon — 110-120 mg/3 ounces (depends on origin)
- Bluefin tuna — 128 mg/3 ounces
If you are concerned about the safety or the sustainability of fish refer to lists of good choices of fish:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Blue Ocean Institute (they also have an iPhone app)
As you start to add fish to your eating plan remember that canned options can offer economical choices but no matter what you choose, choose to add fish to your weekly eating plan.