Lifestyle factors including eating baked or boiled fish promote brain health

Harold Mandel's picture
Eating Fish
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There has been a great deal of hype surrounding reports that eating a lot of fish is good for your cardiovascular health. There has also been interest surrounding reports that eating fish is good for your brain health. It has generally been conjectured that the positive health benefits of fish are due to omega-3 fatty acids in fish. New research shows baked or boiled fish is good for your brain independent of omega-3 fatty acid content.

Brain health may be affected by modifiable lifestyle factors

It has been observed that brain health may be affected by modifiable lifestyle factors and that eating fish and antioxidative omega-3 fatty acids may decrease brain structural abnormality risk reported the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Researchers decided to investigate whether dietary fish consumption is associated with brain structural integrity in cognitively normal elders.

Consumption of baked or broiled fish was positively associated with gray matter volumes

The researchers found that weekly consumption of baked or broiled fish was positively associated with gray matter volumes in various critical regions of the brain. These findings were not altered when omega-3 fatty acid estimates were included in the analysis. The researchers came to the conclusion that eating baked or broiled fish is associated with larger gray matter volumes in the brain independent of omega-3 fatty acid content. It has been suggested by these findings that a confluence of lifestyle factors influences brain health.

Consuming baked or boiled fish weekly boosts brain health

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have stated that consuming baked or boiled fish weekly boosts brain health regardless of the omega-3 fatty acid content reports the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. These findings, which have been recently published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine support growing evidence that lifestyle factors contribute to brain health later in life.

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Greater than 80 million people will have dementia by 2040

It has been estimated by scientists that greater than 80 million people will have dementia by 2040. There have been predictions by some studies that lifestyle changes including a decrease in rates of physical inactivity, smoking and obesity could lead to significantly fewer cases of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of cognitive impairment in elderly people.

Anti-oxidant effects of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in large amounts in fish, seeds and nuts, and certain oils, also have been associated with improved overall health and particularly improved brain health. This study shows that people who ate a diet which included baked or broiled, but not fried, fish have larger brain volumes in regions of the brain which are associated with memory and cognition.

Lifestyle factors instead of biological factors contribute to structural changes in the brain

The researchers noted that in this study there was no relationship found between omega-3 levels and these brain changes. Lead investigator Cyrus Raji, M.D., Ph.D., who now is in radiology residency training at UCLA, and the research team pursued an analysis of this data from 260 people who provided information on their dietary intake, had high-resolution brain MRI scans, and who were cognitively normal at two points during their participation in the study.

The research group concluded that there are a more general set of lifestyle factors which are affecting brain health of which diet is just one part. Senior investigator James T. Becker, Ph.D. said these findings suggest that lifestyle factors, in this case eating fish, instead of biological factors contribute to structural changes in the brain.

Dr. Becker has made significant observation that a confluence of lifestyle factors are likely to be responsible for better brain health. This is a very important point in view of the fact that the American psychiatrists have taken the position that what they label as mental illness is due to structural defects and not functional impairments of the brain.

The finding that lifestyle factors, including diet, influences brain structure and brain health raises serious questions about the generally defeatist positions of the American psychiatrists that their patients suffer from structural defects of the brain and therefore can never actually be cured. The position of the psychiatrists becomes totally unacceptable with this more refined scientific understanding of brain health.

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