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Health Information Fish Consumption and Cognitive Decline

Study has researchers at Rush saying “Go, fish! ”

You ’re probably aware that eating fish has health benefits. For instance, it’s packed with protein and rich in vitamins and minerals. But did you know it may also keep your mind sharp as you age?

According to a study conducted by epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, ScD, and her colleagues at Rush University Medical Center, eating fish at least once a week is associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in elderly people. The study was published in the Archives of Neurology.

“The rate of decline was reduced by 10 to 13 percent per year among people who consumed one or more fish meals per week, compared to those with less than weekly consumption,” Morris says. “That rate reduction is the equivalent of being three to four years younger.”

Fish is a direct source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have proven essential for neurocognitive development and normal brain function. Fish consumption has been associated with lower risk of dementia and stroke, and recent studies have suggested that consumption of one omega-3 fatty acid in particular, docosahexaenoic acid, is important for memory performance in aged animals.

More precise studies of the different dietary elements in fish should help researchers better understand how fish may protect brain function. In the meantime, it’s a smart idea to make fish a part of your weekly menu.

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