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Fish is Brain Food

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Fish is brain food! Eating a healthy diet including salmon and seafood could help with memory. The brain-boosting benefits of seafood for young children have been researched for some time; similar advantages are becoming apparent for adults. 

Salmon meat.

Researchers examining data in the Framingham study found that middle-aged and older people who ate more fish and had higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) performed better on memory and mental sharpness tests.  These tests included visual memory and abstract thinking.

In another study, scientists found that people who ate fish regularly had larger brains. People who ate baked and broiled fish (not fried) at least once a week had an average 14% larger hippocampus – this is the gray matter memory and learning center of the brain. The study authors noted that lower gray matter volume is related to a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease and that potential prevention factors, like seafood consumption, need to begin decades earlier.  

Seafood is one of the only natural dietary sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which are essential for brain development and health. 

  • The general recommendation for omega-3 fatty acids is 250-500mg of combined EPA and DHA per day.

  • The average omega-3 EPA+DHA intake for American adults is 90-120mg per day.  

  • Salmon has 1200–2400 mg of EPA + DHA per 4-ounce serving of Atlantic, Chinook or Coho salmon.

  • Pink and Sockeye salmon have 700-900 mg of EPA + DHA per 4-ounce serving.

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Caitlyn Ferin RD, LD

Registered Dietitian

Caitlyn graduated from Iowa State University with a BS in Dietetics. She has worked in nutrition at Mid Iowa Community Action and as a clinical dietitian for the Iowa Veterans Home and Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center. Her goal is to help you and your family develop and maintain healthy lifestyles by sharing creative and practical nutrition tips.

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