Brain Food with Fins
Why are researchers thinking that fish really is brain food? There are plenty of studies suggesting that the omega-3 fats in fish may protect you from depression, which could keep your brain's memory center from shrinking--literally.
About half of people with major depression release large amounts of glucocorticoids into their blood. These are the same steroids released by prolonged stress and shown by magnetic resonance imaging studies to be able to shrink your brain's memory center.
The longer the depression, the more severe the shrinkage, according to Robert M. Sapolsky, PhD, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers.
It's also well-documented that the rate of depression in the United States has increased 100-fold in the past century--an increase that coincides with Americans deserting omega-3 fatty acids in favor of omega-6 fatty acids, the kind found in soybean oil and corn oil (the major oil in processed and junk foods). One study done at Harvard retested plasma that had been taken 20 years earlier; it found that people with higher blood levels of DHA (one type of omega-3 in fish oil) were least likely to have Alzheimer's disease 20 years later.
But you don't have to wait until all the studies are in to boost your omega-3 intake. Eating fish two or three times a week and getting extra omega-3s by switching to canola or olive oil have already been proven to be good for your heart. And again, what's good for your heart is good for your brain.
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