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|Sarah McGowan-Freije, NatureCity author & contributor|
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh have released the first study directly connecting fish consumption to a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease. MCI is a milder form of cognitive impairment that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America on November 30, 2011.
Participants in the study included 260 individuals with no signs of cognitive impairment. Data on fish consumption was collected using the National Cancer Institute Food Frequency Questionnaire. Of the 260 participants, 163 people ate fish at least once a week, with the majority of those eating fish between one and four times per week.
In order to measure brain structure, the researchers conducted 3-D volumetric MRIs of the participants’ brains and utilized a brain mapping technique called voxel-based morphometry. The technique was used to model the relationship between weekly fish consumption and brain structure.
Multiple regression analyses were then used to determine what the brain structure would look like in ten years time.
The researchers found that eating baked or broiled fish at least once a week was associated with higher volumes of grey matter. High grey matter volume indicates that brain health is being maintained.
They determined that eating baked or broiled fish on a regular basis could postpone the development of MCI by five years and reduce the risk of decline into Alzheimers by almost five times. No similar results were seen with fried fish.
More and more research has shown us that fish consumption is extremely important to maintaining good health, especially as we age. Most studies have linked the positive health benefits of fish to their omega-3 fatty-acid content. Omega-3 fatty-acids have been associated with benefits ranging from improved heart health, better moods, improved joint mobility, and aiding your immune system.
If you don’t like the taste of fish or are concerned about the mercury levels that can be found in some fish, try adding a high quality supplement to your daily routine. Make sure, however, that your supplement has been tested for potency and purity in order to get the most out investment.
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