Eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids may raise blood flow to areas in the brain associated with memory and learning, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, a study has showed.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.
Omega-3 fatty acids commonly found in — flaxseed oil, walnuts, salmon, soybeans, and spinach — have shown anti-amyloid, anti-tau and anti-inflammatory actions 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 because it shows a correlation between lower omega-3 fatty acid levels and reduced brain blood flow to regions important for learning, memory, depression and dementia,” said lead author Daniel G. Amen, CEO, the Amen Clinics Inc. in the US.
Further, the study also demonstrates the value of nutritional intervention for brain health by using the latest brain imaging technique known as Single photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT, which can measure blood perfusion in the brain.
“This study opens the door to the possibility that relatively simple dietary changes could favourably impact cognitive function,” added William S. Harris, from the University of South Dakota
In the study, appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the images acquired from participants performing various cognitive tasks will show higher blood flow in specific brain regions.
In the study, the team analysed the brain images acquired from 166 participants with high Omega 3 levels performing various cognitive tasks and found higher blood flow in specific brain regions involved with memory, and neurocognitive testing.
In addition, they also found that omega-3 levels also correlated with various psychological feelings of the participants.