Washington: A new research says, eating a meal of seafood or other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids at least once a week may protect against age-related memory loss and thinking problems in older people.
The findings by researchers at University Medical Center and Wageningen University in the Netherlands said that the age-related memory loss and thinking problems of participants in the study who reported eating seafood less than once a week declined more rapidly compared to those who ate at least one seafood meal per week.
"This study helps show that while cognitive abilities naturally decline as part of the normal aging process, there is something that we can do to mitigate this process," said Martha Clare Morris, a Rush nutritional epidemiologist and senior author of the paper.
The researchers followed 915 people with a mean age of 81.4 years for an average of five years. At study enrollment, none had signs of dementia.
The participants were recruited from people already taking part in the Rush Memory and Aging Project, a study of residents of more than 40 retirement communities and senior public housing units across northern Illinois, plus older adults identified through church groups and social service agencies.
Participants in the higher seafood consumption group ate an average of two seafood meals per week. Those in the lower group ate an average of 0.5 meals per week.
Seafood is the direct nutrient source of a type of omega-3 fatty acid (docosahexaenoic acid) that is the main structural component of the brain.
While epidemiologic studies have shown the importance of seafood and omega-3 fatty acids in preventing dementia, few prior studies have examined their associations with specific types of cognitive ability.
The study has been published in 'Neurology' journal.