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Eating Fish May Improve Cognitive Function In Older Adults

Among older adults without cognitive problems, eating fatty fish (sardines and anchovies) led to a small improvement in cognitive function.


Background

Fish intake has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease,[206] but this association appears to be explained by omega−3 fatty acids. This study tested the effect of whole fish on cognitive function in older people.


The study

This 12-week randomized controlled trial examined the effect of fish consumption on cognitive function in 57 cognitively healthy older people (mean age of 72). The participants were provided with foods to consume throughout the study, with one group given fish (sardines and anchovies, which provided an estimated 2.2 grams of omega−3s per day) and the other group given beef, chicken, and soy protein (control group). Additionally, the participants from both groups were given canned baked beans, peanut butter, and canola oil.


Cognition was assessed using the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI). The investigators also measured the participants’ omega−3 index, which is the percentage of the omega−3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in red blood cells.


The results

Compared with the control group, the fish group experienced an increase in cognitive function (+2.26 points out of 100) and omega-3 index (+0.32%).


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