Study: Protecting The Brain With Fish Diet

Neurotoxins In The Air

Published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, a study says that eating more than one to two servings a week of fish or shellfish may allow older women to consume enough omega-3 fatty acids to counteract the effects of air pollution on the brain. 

Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have been shown to fight inflammation and maintain brain structure in older brains. They have also been found to reduce brain damage caused by neurotoxins like lead and mercury. Air pollution has been found to contain neurotoxins that attack the brain. 

The study saw a link between food and brain health. Women over 70 who live in areas with high air pollution levels have the greatest brain shrinkage and they also had the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. Researchers determined the women’s 3-year average exposure to pollution where they live by calculating how much fish they ate and measured the omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. After brain scans, researchers found preserved volume of the white matter (help with signal sending) of the brain and size of the hippocampus (related to memory) as women age.

The research provided helpful insights on having a healthy lifestyle, like a healthy diet of fish, to reduce the adverse effects of air pollution. Fatty fish that’s baked or broiled (not fried), such as wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are some of the best sources for omega-3s. While brain volume and white matter loss occurs naturally in aging, environmental toxins can worsen  the problem. The fine particulate matter emitted into the air is a neurotoxin, detrimental to the brain. 

The particulates in air pollution are so small, they can penetrate the lungs, too. Previous studies found that after entering the lungs, the toxins from the air can be distributed throughout the body via the bloodstream. And though the brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier, air pollution can sip through and cause neuroinflammation and cognitive decline. Hence, it makes sense that an omega-3-rich diet can protect brain health. Nonetheless, more studies may be needed to further support these findings.


Healthy Fish For Healthier Brains in Bellevue

As we all grow older, the more should we be aware of our cognitive health. As far as omega-3 fatty acid- rich foods are concerned, for the sake of our brains, look no further than Flo Bellevue.