Holy mackerel: Fish consumption linked to cognitive ability in old age

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A group of international researchers has found that eating oily fish reduces the risk of developing dementia later in life. Samples of oily fish include salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, pilchards, herring and kipper.


The new study of elderly populations in low- to middle-income countries supports previous evidence found in more industrialized nations. Researchers analyzed the eating habits of nearly 15,000 seniors in China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Peru. In every country except India, it was found that the more fish a person ate, the less likely she or he was to develop dementia. The researchers also attempted to evaluate the impact of other meat on dementia risk, but those results remain unclear.


Fish contain large amounts of omega-3, a fatty acid long associated with cognitive ability and overall mental health, which researchers say could contribute to preventing dementia. More than 24 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, according to one expert estimate. The full study can be found in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.