Salmon is one of the most delicious and healthy foods you can eat. It’s packed with protein & great for your skin. Its great for heart health, eye health, and even supports weight loss. But there is one health benefit of eating salmon that tops them all, brain health. You may have asked yourself, is salmon good for the brain? Should you eat the fish regularly in order to protect your brain cells long term?
Brain health is something to worry about in all stages of life. It’s essential for improving your day to day activities. Plus, having a brain that functions optimally is of course essential for later in life. So finding foods that support brain health is so important no matter what stage of life you’re in. Today we’re going to explain how salmon supports brain health and function. Plus we’ll share the specific brain benefits of eating salmon.
Is Salmon Good for the Brain?
YES. Salmon is incredible for your brain health. Many studies have shown that salmon is good for brain health and function. When talking about brain foods, oily fish is the most common type of food that is usually brought up. Salmon is one of your best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. For optimal brain health you should try to eat fatty fish such as salmon and other brain healthy foods regularly.
The brain is mostly made of fatty acids, about 60% of it, according to a ScienceLine. There are many varieties of fatty acids. However the bulk of fatty acids in the brain are docosahexaenoic acids, aka DHA. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid found mainly in oily fish such as our tasty salmon. The human body does not produce its own DHA. So we must acquire it through diet. Having a diet high in fatty fish such as salmon is the best way to boost your DHA to support your brain.
Benefits Of Omega-3 For Brain Health
As we mentioned above, salmon is packed full of the Omega 3 fatty acid DHA. The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are well known and highly researched. The health benefits can be significant in all phases of life and to assist in the prevention of illness and improvement of brain function. Below are all of the different ways DHA protects your brain cells for optimal function and long term health.
Brain Cell Function
Omega-3 fatty acids support “synaptic plasticity”. Which basically means it helps with the communication of cells within the brain. Synaptic plasticity positively affects the expression of several molecules related to learning and memory that are found on synapses. In other words, DHA supports optimal brain function and protects your brain health by helping it function optimally. DHA helps produce the neurotransmitters that tell cells what to do. When your brain functions efficiently, there is less stress for both you and your brain.
Reduces Inflammation Causing Adverse Brain Function
DHA reduces cerebral inflammation. Some studies have shown that low dietary intake of omega-3s appear to cause inflammation in specific regions of the brain. Inflammation in your brain, or anywhere in the body is known to cause adverse function. When it comes to the brain, your goal should always to improve its performance rather than hinder it.
Depression is specifically related to brain chemistry and function. As we noted above, DHA reduces inflammation in the brain. Inflammation can contribute to depression and memory loss. Although there are many other causes related to depression, imbalances in neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (which eating omega-3s can improve) are linked to this disorder.
Fish oil and fatty fish have been observed to slow down age-related memory loss and reduce cognitive decline. Consuming fatty fish twice a week showed 13% slower decline in memory issues for people aged 65 years and older. People with normal brain function who regularly included salmon in their diets have improved brain function.
Prevents Future Diseases
Recent studies have even shown that eating a diet high in DHA reduces your risk of Alzheimers. Alzheimers, and other degenerative diseases in the brain can be prevented or reduced from eating foods high in DHA. So, it is quite important to obtain omega-3 fatty acids from your diet, especially as you age, to avoid risk of suffering from brain illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and even ADHD.
Brain Development in Utero and Early Childhood
Omega-3 fatty acids also play an important role in brain development. These fatty acids are necessary for healthy brain and eye development in utero. Therefore, healthy brain development can be impacted before birth and pregnant women should consume salmon. Fatty acids continue to play an important role in postnatal development as well as into early childhood. Increased fish consumption has been associated with improved cognition in children.
Other Health Benefits of Salmon
Aside from being tasty, versatile, and packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, there are more amazing health benefits you can get from salmon.
Rich in high-quality protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that the body needs for protecting bone health and muscle mass and helps the body heal from an injury.
Salmon is high in potassium which helps control blood pressure and lessen risk of stroke. It contains more potassium than the same amount of banana.
Salmon contains the Antioxidant Astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin gives salmon its red color. It helps reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing the good cholesterol (HDL). It also helps protect the brain and nervous system from inflammation.
Salmon skin benefits are also incredible. Inflammation breaks down collagen and elastin in the body, which is terrible for your skin. Salmon also contains vitamin D which helps protect your skin against harmful UV rays ( source ).
Salmon Promotes Weight Loss
Eat salmon on a regular basis to maintain a healthy weight. Salmon has the same effect of protein-rich foods which make you feel full. According to research, Omega-3 fatty acid in salmon and other fatty fish may decrease belly fat and help obese people to lose weight.
For more reasons salmon is so healthy see this post.
Eat Salmon To Support Your Brain Health
Salmon is a tasty, versatile, and an easily obtainable food choice. It provides so many health benefits especially when it comes to brain function. Regularly consuming at least two servings of salmon per week can provide the nutrients that your body and brain need. If you’re looking for tons of salmon recipe ideas, check out our Pinterest.