As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: March 6, 2014
by Hannah Newman for Science Line:
Salmon is topping the charts as one of the best foods to eat, but what makes this pink-fleshed marine animal a modern mealtime marvel?
Your brain is fat, really fat. Sixty percent of it is composed of fatty acids, the long snake-like building blocks of fat molecules required for proper brain structure and function. Fatty acids come in many varieties, yet the brain has a clear favorite — and salmon is packed with it. More than two-thirds of the brain’s fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in oily fish, although some vegetarian sources exist as well. Metabolically incapable of making DHA on our own, we must obtain it from our diet.
DHA is like a warm winter coat for your neurons, or brain cells, making up a majority of their cell membrane, the cell’s outer coating. And just like you wouldn’t want to leave your house in the winter without putting on a coat, you wouldn’t want to starve your brain cells of DHA. This essential fatty acid protects neurons from injury, reduces cerebral inflammation, helps produce neurotransmitters that tell cells what to do and is essential for quick information transfer down the axon, the neuron’s highway.
Even though you can’t produce this neuronal insulation on your own, you steal enough of it from your mom while in utero to help you through the first few years of life (that’s why mom’s omega-3 intake during pregnancy is so important). But as you age, DHA levels in your brain decline — imagine your winter coat slowly vanishing the longer you stay outdoors. This deterioration has been linked to memory loss, mood disorders, cognitive decline, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), reduced brain volume and Alzheimer’s disease.
When you’re young, you don’t need to remember your coat when you go outside — a parent never lets you leave the house without it. But as an adult, this responsibility falls on your shoulders. If you don’t adequately layer up before facing the cold, you’ll pay the price. Similarly, if you fail to obtain enough DHA from your diet, your brain will be unable to fire optimally. You’ll leave your neurons exposed to injury, disease, inflammation and reduced cognitive capabilities.
Yet just because you may be feeling chilly now, there’s no need to go overboard with this oily fish. Two servings of salmon a week should do the trick for keeping your brain cells working properly and reducing your risk of neurological disease. So if it’s been a while since you approached the fish counter, you may want to think about paying a visit. I’m making this for dinner.
Picture: Flickr user James Bowe
A large team of researchers affiliated with a host of institutions across South Korea has developed a possible blood test to detect the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease in patients who have yet to...
Electromagnetic brain stimulation of an area of the brain known as the hippocampus has improved the memory of older adults with age-related memory loss, in a study published in the journal Neurology. Researchers from Northwestern...
Telling an elderly parent that they need to stop driving and taking away their car keys is one of the most difficult things adult children have to do. But there is something that can be...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.