Most vitamins and minerals are obtained through a healthy diet. Plant-based foods are a great option to boost your health, from colorful fruits and vegetables to dark leafy greens. However, there is an “essential nutrient” found in oily fish instead – omega-3. Moreover, this nutrient can help reduce the risk of developing a mind-stealing condition.
Dietitian and researcher Dr. Pam Mason from Nutritional and health supplement information service (HSIS) said: “Omega-3 fats are essential for brain function (as well as heart function and eye function). They play a role in brain function throughout life.”
“Reducing cognitive decline is a major focus for older women, and omega-3 fats are an essential nutrient.
“Low omega-3 levels are associated with decreased cognitive function in younger women which may predispose women to cognitive decline at an older age because it provides a lower baseline from which brain health can decline.”
The bad news is that many women are lacking in this brain-boosting nutrient.
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Latest HSIS Report Titled Diet Disasters for the Seven Ages of Women: How Nutritional Gaps Endanger Women’s Health Across the Lifecycle, she found that intake of omega-3 fatty acids is lower than recommended for women of all ages.
Dr Mason added: “These findings are consistent with those in the US National Nutritional Survey showing that women eat less omega-3 fatty acids than men.”
The doctor suggested that one reason for this discrepancy might be that women were eating less oily fish.
This type of fish along with vegetable oils, nuts, and flaxseeds is the main source of fatty acids, according to Harvard Medical School.
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The NHS He recommends eating one portion of oily fish per week. However, the health service also notes that most people do not consume this amount.
What are good food sources for omega 3?
In case you didn’t know, oily fish includes the following:
- Herring (boiled, caper, hilsa)
If fish isn’t really your thing, the doctor suggested other sources of omega-3s as well.
She said: Lean, red meat, seafood, eggs, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
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“For people who want a vegetarian or vegan source of omega-3 fatty acids, seeds like flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, or nuts like walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).”
However, the expert cautioned that this type of omega-3 known as ALA needs to be converted in the body into EPA and DHA – the type found in oily fish.
Since this conversion is often “ineffective,” she also suggests pairing plant foods with omega-3 supplements.
What does the research say?
One studypublished in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that higher levels of omega-3s in the blood are associated with a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Furthermore, low levels of DHA have been linked to smaller brain size, a “sign of accelerated brain aging,” according to the study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
“An analysis of five large studies that followed a total of 23,688 older participants (88 percent of women) for 3.9 to 9.1 years found slower rates of decline in memory and cognition with increased fish intake,” Dr. Mason added.
but, Alzheimer’s Association She shares that “there is no very strong evidence that omega-3s themselves are behind this benefit.”
The charity explains that it’s possible that fish as part of a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cognitive decline but “the jury is still out on omega-3s”.