Food For the Brain

Food For the Brain

It may seem that you need to eat more than just an apple a day to keep the doctor away. A new research study just published in Science Daily revealed that eating fish once per week can improve brain health and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) by almost five-fold. Alzheimer’s Disease is an incurable disease that slowly kills the brain cells responsible for memory, thinking and (eventually) bodily functions. In Canada, there is an estimated 300 000 people diagnosed with AD and that figure could exceed 700 000 by the year 2020 with an increasing aging population. As a result, having fish on the menu once per week could help starve off cognitive decline. In particular, the study found that people who ate baked or broiled fish at least once per week had higher gray matter volume in several brain areas affected by AD compared to people who ate fish less frequently. Gray matter volume is an important sign of a healthy brain because a smaller volume indicates that the cells are shrinking, which is a risk factor for AD. Interestingly, eating fried fish does not have the same protective factor.

So, what is it about fish that protects us against cognitive decline? Well, ingredients found in fish nourish the brain cells in gray matter to make them bigger, healthier and stronger. This means that making fish your menu choice once a week can help fight
against and lower the risk of developing AD.

Want to decrease the risk of AD further? You could also engage in regular physical activity and intellectual stimulation. Physical activity need not be exercising at the gym 3 times per week but activities such as gardening, walking, and housework are also considered to be physical activities. Intellectual stimulation is about flexing the muscles of the brain. The more you flex your brain muscles or challenging it to think and learn in new situations, the stronger and healthier your brain cells will become; thus, making it harder for AD to weaken your memory abilities.

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About the Author:

Dr Chow is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private clinic in Saint-Laurent (Montreal) and in Saint-Lambert on the South Shore. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University. She is also a member of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec.