According to a recent study, consuming omega-3 fatty acids regularly may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease later in life. For memory care, seniors should think about eating foods that contain the health-boosting effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
Research has pointed to the cognitive benefits of consuming omega-3 fatty acids for some time, but results have sometimes been inconclusive. The latest research, published in Neurology Journal, involved 1,111 women who were studied for eight years with an average age of 78 at the end of the study. Women who had a higher level of fatty acids, 7.5 percent compared to 3.4 percent, were found to have a higher brain volume of 0.7 percent. Researchers studied MRI scans and blood tests to determine fatty acid levels and brain volume.
"The red blood cell is a good representative of the other tissues in the body," Dr. Bill Harris, lead author of the study and professor at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota, told FoxNews.com. "Its levels of omega-3s are more reflective of the whole body."
Researchers have found that shrinking brain volume is not only concerning, but could also be a sign of Alzheimer's disease. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids correlated to larger brain volume and is equivalent to preserving brain health for two years.
"It's there for one reason or another," Harris told FoxNews.com "And then other studies have led people to think that … fish is brain food. People have seen that populations that eat more fish have less dementia … so it seemed like a natural thing to look at."
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids
For most people, it is possible to get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids from their diet. High sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish such as salmon, anchovies, tuna, tilapia and other seafood like crabs, lobsters, clams and shrimp. Seniors who are custom to eating a lot of red meat should consider swapping meat for fish twice a week to gain all the benefits.
Other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are beans – kidney, pinto and mung. Oils also contain high amounts of the nutrient, and other studies have shown that regular consumption of olive oil can also be beneficial for heart health and preventing disease. In addition, a handful of nuts can be a healthy snack with brain-boosting effects.