Study: Omega-3 Fatty Acids Linked to Preserved Brain Health

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

When I was younger, I absolutely hated fish. I couldn’t stand the sight, smell, or taste of any kind of seafood. But, for some reason, about a year ago, I began to really love it, especially shrimp and salmon. To be honest, I’m glad I did, as fish is an incredibly healthy source of protein and other nutrients. It’s a well-known fact that fish is a great source of omega-3s, but did you know that it has been shown that all of the omega-3s in fish can benefit your mental health as you age?

A recent study found that eating a diet that was higher in omega-3 fatty acids during the middle-aged years was linked to improved cognitive function later in life. According to Claudia Satzibal, the lead author of the study, even consuming only modest amounts of omega-3 was shown to have an impact. She notes that this corresponds to the suggested amount of fish for adults to consume, which is 2 servings per week.

During the study, researchers monitored the omega-3 levels of healthy, middle-aged adults. They then took tests on abstract reasoning and did MRI scans to assess brain mass. Overall, they found that those who ate more omega-3s had higher scores on the tests, and also had larger volumes of the hippocampus region of their brain, a portion of the brain that plays a huge role in memory. Satizibal stated that additional research is needed to fully prove this association, but if it is proven, being able to preserve brain function with one’s diet could significantly impact society.


After learning all of that, I’m glad I got over my hatred of fish, because not only is it super delicious, but it also can help to keep my brain strong in the long run. So, if you don’t consume fish regularly already, consider adding it to your diet! For some fish recipe ideas, check out these fish recipes from Fill Your Plate!

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