In the case of our brains on acid, this time the direction is entirely positive. A new study on mental fitness looked at the reduced incidences of brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s, in populations with a high Omega-3 fatty acid diet.
Researchers at Deakin University in Australia found that when the level of the Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, in brain cells drop, the level of zinc rises. The high levels and toxicity of the zinc found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients has been identified as a key component of the disease. The study showed that the Omega-3s, specifically, DHAs, balance the levels of zinc in the brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids are not a single nutrient, but a collection of several, including ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenic acid) and DHA (DocosaHexaenoic Acid). They are found in greatest abundance in coldwater fish like salmon, cod, mackerel, and tuna and in smaller amounts in dark green leafy vegetables, flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, and a variety of vegetable oils.
What we know so far is a pretty strong argument for including
Omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. They help lower triglyceride levels, increase “good” HDL cholesterol, decrease blood pressure, improve memory, recall, reasoning, and focus, and protect against cancer. The recommended amount is two servings or 12 ounces of fish a week.
About 90% of the nutrients from whole food are absorbed by the body, compared to 50% from capsules. That said, something is better than nothing. If you do decide to take Omega-3 supplements, take only the recommended amounts. Overdosing can create a risk of bleeding and bruising, which is unlikely to occur when getting the nutrient from food.
Fruits, nuts, and French fries. We are what we eat. The quality of our diet is a primary factor in the quality of our lives. Our longevity will be a lot more enjoyable if we’re healthy, mobile, and able to remember why we’re so lucky to be alive.