Health experts and nutritionists always advise people to include fish in their diet for its numerous health benefits. A number of studies have also indicated eating fish can be good for heart and brain health. However, the prevailing theory is the omega-3 fatty acid is what leads to the benefits. However, a new study indicates eating broiled and baked fish can benefit human brain, even when the amount of Omega 3 acid is not much. It was carried out by researchers from University of Pittsburgh and partially sponsored by NIH. The study findings are available in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The anti-oxidant impact of omega-3 fatty acids can enhance brain health. This is particularly important given the fact dementia is on rise worldwide, says James T. Becker, who led the study. Dr. Becker said, "Our study shows that people who ate a diet that included baked or broiled, but not fried, fish have larger brain volumes in regions associated with memory and cognition. We did not find a relationship between omega-3 levels and these brain changes, which surprised us a little.” He was assisted by researchers hailing from University of Southern California and University of Navarra.
The team analyzed data collected from 260 candidates for this study. Their dietary intake data was gathered and analyzed. They also underwent brain MRI scans, said the researchers. Cyrus Raji, another investigator said, "Baked or broiled fish contains higher levels of omega-3s than fried fish because the fatty acids are destroyed in the high heat of frying, so we took that into consideration when we examined their brain scans." So, those consuming fried fish or snacks for health benefits may need to do a rethink. Omega 3 fatty acid is also found in some seeds and oils, but the concentration in fish oil is quite high.
People eating broiled and baked fish once every week were found to have more grey matter brain volumes than others who did not consume fish much. The former category was also more educated. Dr. Becker added this change can be more related to lifestyle factors than biological factors.