Eating tuna and other types of fish may help lower the risk of cognitive decline and stroke in healthy older adults, according to a study published today in Neurology.
The study found that people who ate fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (called DHA and EPA) three times or more per week had a nearly 26% lower risk of having the silent brain lesions that can cause dementia and stroke compared to people who did not eat fish regularly. Eating just one serving of this type of fish per week led to a 13% lower risk. The study also found people who regularly ate these types of fish had fewer changes in the white matter in their brains.
"While eating tuna and other types of fish seems to help protect against memory loss and stroke, these results were not found in people who regularly ate fried fish," said Jyrki Virtanen at the University of Kuopio in Finland. "More research is needed as to why these types of fish may have protective effects, but the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA would seem to have a major role."
Types of fish that contain high levels of DHA and EPA nutrients include salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies.