All types of seafood are great for overall health and well-being; however, it is especially beneficial for brain health. According to the Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025 for AmericansNearly 90% of Americans don’t meet the recommended eight ounces of seafood per week. Across the board, seafood is a nutrient-rich category that includes protein, healthy fats, B vitamins, and minerals like zinc, iron, and iodine. When it comes to nourishing the brain and keeping it in peak condition, the best fish to consume are: wild salmon.
More than half of the brain is made up of fats, especially omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, according to nutrients. About 90% of the fat that makes up the structure of the brain is in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Salmon is a rich source of DHA, as well as another important omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). In fact, a 3-ounce serving of wild salmon contains 1.22 grams of DHA and 0.35 grams of EPA. If you’re wondering how that compares to the recommended amount of DHA and EPA you should be consuming every day, it’s about 100%
More and more research is being done to understand how diet can slow or prevent cognitive decline. What is known so far is that a higher intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition†
In addition to feeding your brain the top sources of omega-3 fatty acids, consuming wild salmon can help produce a powerful protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF supports the growth and survival of brain cells and is one of the proteins responsible for creating new brain cells.
This is great news for salmon lovers! Not only can you enjoy a tasty form of protein, but you also have to take care of your brain. To see the benefits of consuming salmon, consume it at least twice a week, but ideally three times. Ways to enjoy salmon include roasting it in the oven with pesto and vegetables, simply grilled with grains and vegetables, or in a curry.
Wild salmon fillets can be on the pricey side, so if you’re shopping on a budget, try canned wild salmon. It’s an excellent budget-friendly option and can be added to salads or used to make tasty salmon burgers.
Sydney Greene, MS, RD
Sydney Greene is a Registered Dietitian specializing in addiction recovery nutrition, eating disorders and body image as well as chronic digestive issues. read more