Research shows our memory starts slipping before we even hit 30. And by our 40's and 50’s we start realizing we're not quite as sharp as we used to be. But, a new study shows if you want to give your brain a boost, you might want to start by eating more fish.
A 60-year-old brain is not going to be as sharp as a 20-year-old brain.
As we get older, our brains are getting older, too. But a new study published in the journal Neurology shows certain foods may help you turn back the clock a little.
Want to stay mentally on top of your game? A new study shows the choices you make at the grocery store could impact how our brains age as we get older.
UCLA researchers found people with higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids - usually found in fish oil - had slightly larger brains, and scored better on cognitive tests - than people with very low levels of omega-3s.
And Dr. James Lah, Associate Professor of Neurology at Emory School of Medicine, says the findings back up the belief that are habits -- good or bad -- make a difference.
"The evidence has been pretty strong that things that you do, in terms of diet, exercise and lifestyle choices, can have a very big impact on how you age overall. And specifically how your brain ages,” said Dr. James Lah.
Researchers followed just over 1,500 people with an average age of 67. The group with the lowest levels of omega-3s had small - but important - signs of damage to their brain and they scored lower on brain function tests than the group who consumed a lot of omega-3s.
“The tricky part, though, is you can't wake up when you're 75 or 80 and say, "I'm getting a little old now, I'd like for my brain to stay healthy. I'm going to start eating better. You really have to start in your 30’s, and 40’s, and 50’s,” said Lah.
So what should you eat? A great start; fatty fish like salmon are packed with omega-3.
But you can also find the fatty acids in sardines, flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds. It's hard to say how much you should eat or how much protection omega-3’s offer.
Dr. Lah says try to work some of these foods into your daily diet, because in his mind, they can make a difference.
"I made a point of eating fish last night. I do think about it."
Dr. Lah says don't go out and overload on omega-3 fatty acid supplements. He says the best source is food, not a pill. But supplements can help increase your levels. The key is to work foods like salmon and tuna into your regular weekly rotation.
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