Eating baked or broiled fish every week may reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Such a diet may also cut the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.
“This is the first study to establish a direct relationship between fish consumption, brain structure and Alzheimer’s risk,” said Dr. Cyrus Raji, from the the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in a RSNA news release. “The results showed that people who consumed baked or broiled fish at least one time per week had better preservation of gray matter volume on MRI in brain areas at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”
As many as 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the National Institute on Aging. People with mild cognitive impairment, called MCI, have memory problems as well but not as severely as those with Alzheimer’s. However, some people with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s later in life.
In their study, researchers found that people who at baked or broiled fish between one and four times a week had larger and healthier neurons in the brain’s gray matter. It’s important to retain a high level of gray matter in the brain because when it decreases, it indicated that brain cells are shrinking, according to the study.
“Consuming baked or broiled fish promotes stronger neurons in the brain’s gray matter by making them larger and healthier,” Raji said. “This simple lifestyle choice increases the brain’s resistance to Alzheimer’s disease and lowers risk for the disorder.”
In fact, eating fish weekly led to high levels of “working memory.”
“Working memory, which allows people to focus on tasks and commit information to short-term memory, is one of the most important cognitive domains,” Raji said.
People should choose carefully how they prepare their fish. Eating fried fish did not protect the brain against cognitive decline, according to the study.
Sources: Radiological Society of North America, National Institute on Aging, U.S. National Institutes of Health
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