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It's not too late to start eating fish

Created date

September 23rd, 2014
baked salmon
baked salmon

How much fish do you have to eat to reap health benefits? The answer to that question varies from expert to expert. The American Heart Association, for example, recommends two servings (3.5 oz, or about the size of a deck of cards) of omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish each week to keep your heart healthy. The Food and Drug Administration, on the other hand, recommends that people consume about 12 oz or roughly three servings weekly to optimize overall health, especially brain health. Omega-3s have been shown to be essential for brain health, and this type of fat is also being studied for numerous other medical uses.

But for people who aren’t all that fond of the types of fish that tend to be high in omega-3s, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel, there may be some good news.

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine shows that one weekly serving of fish may be sufficient to maintain brain health, regardless of how high it is in omega-3 fatty acids, as long as you maintain an otherwise healthy lifestyle. 

The study focused on the effects of fish on the brain health of adults over age 65. Researchers found that people who ate one serving of baked or broiled (not fried) fish once a week had larger brain volumes in the regions related to cognition and memory. Surprisingly, however, the researchers think it may not be related to omega-3 fatty acids alone. The blood levels of omega-3s in the people who ate fish and people who didn’t weren’t significantly different. Those findings led the researchers to conclude that lifestyle factors may have a significant effect on brain health.

Research results like these highlight the importance of a healthful diet, physical activity, and brain-stimulating activities. But adding a little fish couldn’t hurt.