Written by Linc Bedrosian
December 8, 2011
For years, fish has been called "brain food" because eating it makes you smarter. And given the variety of health benefits protein-and omega-3-rich seafood offers, people are indeed smart to make fish a regular part of their diet.
But a study presented at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, held recently in Chicago, indicates that eating baked or broiled fish may benefit your brain in another important way.
The paper, authored by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the university's School of Medicine, is entitled, "Regular Fish Consumption Is Associated With Larger Gray Matter Volumes and Reduced Risk for Cognitive Decline in the Cardiovascular Health Study."
Catchy title, no?
The study says that people who eat baked or broiled fish weekly may be making their brain healthier and reducing their risk of developing mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease.
Wait, what about fried seafood? To be sure, it's tasty. But, according to the study, it doesn't offer the same protection against cognitive decline.
It's estimated that as many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer's disease. The incurable, progressive brain disease slowly destroys memory and other cognitive skills.
According to a radiology society press release, out of the 260 cognitively normal individuals selected for the study, 163 consumed fish weekly, and most did so one to four times a week. 3-D volumetric MRIs of the brain, and a brain mapping technique that measures gray matter volume enabled researchers to examine the relationship between weekly fish consumption and brain structure 10 years later.
Researchers say that gray matter volume is vital to brain health; the more you can pump up the volume, the better off your brain is.
The study found that eating baked or broiled fish weekly was positively associated with greater gray matter volume in several important regions of the brain. Consequently, the study says, fish eaters reduced their risk for five-year decline to MCI or Alzheimer's by almost five-fold.
Keeping a cruel disease like Alzheimer's at bay sounds like an awfully good reason for folks to up their fish consumption and dine on baked or broiled seafood once a week, if not more.
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