If you haven't been eating fish, it's time you include it in your diet. A new study suggests that eating fish and food that are rich in omega-3 fatty acid is good for your brain. It may even preserve your brain power in old age.

In a new study published in the journal Neurology Jan. 22, researchers measured the amount of omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the red blood cells of 1,111 postmenopausal women who were part of the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study. Eight years later, the subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and had the volume of white matter and gray matter in their brain measured. The researchers found that the women who had the highest levels of EPA and DHA at the start of the study had brains that are generally larger than women who had the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their RBC.

The study authors said that the brain gets smaller as people age but the accelerated shrinkage occurs in those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The subjects with the higher levels of omega-3 fatty acid were also found to have greater hippocampal volume and the brain's hippocampus plays a crucial role in the formation of new memory.

"Our study suggests that a higher tissue reserve of omega-3 fatty acids may slow the loss of cognitive function that can accompany brain atrophy," said study lead author James Pottala, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of South Dakota and a biostatistician at the Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc. "It adds to growing literature suggesting that higher omega-3 tissue levels, which can be achieved by dietary changes, may hold promise for delaying cognitive ageing and/or dementia."

Although the study did not measure the amount of fish or supplements that the subjects consumed, the researchers noted that previous studies have showed that healthy people who eat non-fried oily fish two times a week and take fish oil supplements tend to have high omega-3 fatty acid levels. The researchers also said that while the study involved women, the same result is expected in men.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.