Experts have previously said the anti-oxidant effect of omega-3 fatty acids - found in high amounts in fish, seeds, nuts and certain oils - are associated with improved brain health.
The new research reveals that people who eat a diet including fish have larger brain volumes in areas associated with memory and cognition.
The findings add to growing evidence that lifestyle factors, such as diet, contribute to brain health later in life.
Eating fish while pregnant may have benefits that go beyond early brain development. Studies have found that the children of mothers who eat fish while pregnant have better social and verbal skills at age eight compared to the children of mothers who never ate fish. Several studies have shown long-term benefits to children whose mothers ate fish while pregnant – results which back up the current recommendations for eating fish regularly.
But the benefits of eating fish go beyond the early years. Researchers have found that many brain-related conditions may be prevented or even treated by good intakes of omega-3 fats, including problems like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and depression as well as dyslexia and ADHD in children.
Several studies have shown that what we eat may have as big an impact on our brains as it does on our heart or waistline. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables seems to be vital in protecting the brain into old age but just as important is regularly eating fish. In fact, much of the research into the role of fish in the brain has been carried out in people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
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