Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can increase blood flow to areas in the brain associated with memory and learning, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a study showed.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
ALSO READ | Exercise can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in flaxseed oil, walnuts, salmon, soybeans, and spinach, have shown anti-amyloid, anti-dew, and anti-inflammatory effects in the brains of animals.
The study showed positive relationships between omega-3 EPA + DHA status, brain perfusion, and cognition.
“This is very important research as it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and decreased blood flow to the brain in regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia,” said lead author Daniel G. Amen, CEO of Amen Clinics Inc. in the USA.
In addition, the study shows the value of nutritional interventions for brain health using the latest brain imaging technology known as single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), which can measure blood perfusion in the brain.
“This study opens the door to the possibility that relatively simple dietary changes can have beneficial effects on cognitive function,” added William S. Harris of the University of South Dakota.
In the study, which appears in the Journal of Alzheimer Disease, pictures of participants performing various cognitive tasks show increased blood flow in certain areas of the brain.
In the study, the team analyzed the brain images of 166 participants with high levels of omega-3s who performed various cognitive tasks and found higher blood flow in certain areas of the brain related to memory and neurocognitive testing.
In addition, they found that omega-3 levels also correlated with various psychological feelings of the participants.