Fish not only travel in schools. Eating them helps keep your brain smart. Some of the earlier studies on the omega-3 fatty acids didn’t always find that fish oil was good for your brain because they depended on asking people to fill out questionnaires and people often forget what they ate (especially if they weren’t eating fish).
But this new study in the journal Neurology from UCLA involved researchers taking blood samples from 1,575 participants to measure levels of the two main omega-3s found in fish (EPA and DHA). These the researcheres did cognitive tests and MRI scans of the brains of those they followed and correlated that with omega-3 levels.
Participants with the lowest omega-3 levels scored significantly worse on tests of visual memory, executive function and abstract thinking than those in the top three-quarters of omega-3. And here is a scary part: lower blood levels of omega-3s were also associated with smaller brain volumes – as if the person were two years older.
This study made the researchers conclude that omega-3s protect blood vessels in the brain and thus reduce the rate of brain aging. So as you get older or approach menopause, be sure to include fish in your diet or add fish oil supplements as part of your daily regimen.