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Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids May Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's

Numerous studies have linked omega-3 essential fatty acid consumption with brain health and the latest suggests that eating foods rich in omega-3s - especially fish, chicken, salad dressing and nuts - could reduce blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that has been associated with Alzheimer's disease.

The findings of the study, which was conducted by researchers with Columbia University Medical Center, were published online ahead of print on May 2, 2012, in the journal Neurology.

Participants included 1,219 people who were over the age of 65 and had no previous diagnoses of dementia. Over the course of 1.2 years, the participants provided information about their diets and the researchers tested their blood for beta-amyloid.

The researchers also examined levels of 10 nutrients, including saturated fatty acids and omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Participants who consumed one gram of omega-3 per week above the average consumed by all participants had 20 to 30% lower beta-amyloid levels. One gram of omega-3 is equivalent to half a fillet of salmon. None of the other nutrients seemed to have an effect on beta-amyloid.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been linked to numerous health benefits, including combating diabetes, lowering cholesterol, improving vision and relieving depression.

If you’re looking to increase your fish oil intake, try adding darker fish, such as salmon or tuna, to your diet. If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency in order to avoid harmful mercury levels.

Previous article Cheese, Wine, and Lamb May Help Protect Against Cognitive Decline

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