How Eating Fish Affects the Brain

The benefits of fish on human brain health are indispensable.  Studies have revealed that fatty and amino acids found in most fish are elements critical not only in building brain cell membranes, but also in fostering its proper development to make it function better. Here’s a lowdown on the vital nutrients found in fish that could well explain how eating it can be highly essential to brain health and function.

Fish as a Rich Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cold-water fish, like mackerel, trout, salmon and sardines, belong to the oily fish category, while haddock and cod, among several others, belong to the lean ones. Of these two categories, the former are higher in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than the latter in terms of brain-health benefits and as the brain’s building materials.  In turn, this omega-3 fatty acid produces docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a more complex fatty acid that builds up the brain cell membranes, to boost the brain’s health and function.

Fish as an Excellent Source of DHA

The DHA is responsible for building brain tissues, restoring neurons and improving synapses. An aging brain will show lowered DHA levels and this affects overall brain health. Without fish on the diet, deficiency in DHA can contribute or worsen brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia in elder people. And younger people are not spared! DHA deficiency diminishes learning abilities for young people. So load up on salmon. It is good for young brains and may even be helpful to ward off or delay brain diseases in the post-golden years.

Protein and Amino Acids in Fish Are Responsible for Efficient Neurotransmission

The brain is a huge network and it needs efficient highways, called neurotransmitters, to convey information within the network and even through the brain barrier. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein and are necessary for brain health. Unfortunately, the body isn’t capable of producing these acids on its own, and thus, needs to source them from food. In a study conducted by Harvard University, it concluded that fish produces high-quality protein containing these essential substances. Other researches supported this inference and discovered that amino acids significantly improve learning performance and promote mental acuity.

Fish as a Great Source of Vitamin D

Vitamin D acts with other nutrients, such as calcium, to improve healthy brain nerves, enhance cognitive abilities, and contribute to quickness of the thought processes. Vitamin D is not naturally abundant in most types of food, but it is found naturally and abundantly in fish.  Research published in the Journal of Neurology showed that men with higher Vitamin D levels performed significantly better in a neuropsychological test than the other subjects with lower Vitamin D levels.

What is good for the brain is ultimately beneficial for the body. This is true of fish and fish oil. They are known to reduce depression, risks for death from cardiac diseases, and even death from all causes. That eating fish is good for you and your brain is definitely a no-brainer.

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