Want to keep your head clear through old age? Then you should take a look at your diet.
Exercise against depression
Several studies point to the fact that a diet with a lot of oily fish or fish oil prevents dementia.
Dementia is an age-related brain disorder that involves loss of mental capacity. Common signs are memory failure, difficulty finding words, anxiety and depression. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but dementia can also occur as a result of brain bleeding (vascular dementia) or prolonged alcohol abuse. There is currently no effective treatment for the disease.
Omega-3 in the brain
Omega-3 fatty acids make up a large part of the brain’s fatty tissue. These fatty acids make the cell membranes flexible and help the transmission of signals between the nerve cells proceed as they should. It is the long-chain fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) that has this useful feature. This is found in oily fish and cranberries. Long chain omega-3 fatty acids also protect against cardiovascular disease, which in itself is a risk factor for both Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.
Supplements of DHA have been shown to be effective in slowing the development of Alzheimer’s in animal models. Observational studies of humans also show that those with the highest intake of fish or fish oil have a significantly lower risk of developing dementia. In order to finally determine if omega-3 subsidies actually help against dementia, randomized studies are also required. Two major intervention studies have now been initiated, and their results are expected in 2008.
Eat fat fish!
Saturated fat and cholesterol appear to have a negative effect on dementia and increase the risk of disease. This is probably due to the effects of these fat types on cardiovascular disease.
Eat oily fish twice a week, and take cranberry or fish oil supplements on the days you do not eat oily fish. Greasy dairy products and meat products should be replaced with lean flavors.
KIlde: Lim WS et al. Omega 3 fatty acid for the prevention of dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006 Issue 1 National Association for Public Health