A recent study published in the December 2005 issue of the Archives of Neurology, reports that fish can improve cognitive function later in life. In following nearly 3,718 individuals ages 65 and older for a period of six years, researchers found that participants who ate fish once a week slowed the decline of mental function by 10% while those who consumed fish twice a week or more reduced the decline by 13%, correlating to 4 years in mental age. Lead researchers hoped to determine whether ‘healthy’ omega-3 fatty acids played a significant role in slowing cognitive decline. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are crucial in brain development early in life and have also been found to lower the risk heart disease, Alzheimers and stroke. Though the study found no distinct association between fish rich in omega-3s and cognitive function, researchers intend to continue to examine the potential correlation. The protective qualities of fish could stem from omega-3s or simply from fish’s healthy nutrient profile, which is extremely low in saturated fat.
So what’s the take-home message? Stock up on fish on your trip to the grocery store and do something good for your health. Incorporate fish at least 1-2 times per week into your diet. Try fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like wild salmon, tuna and halibut as well as low-fat, high-protein ‘white’ fish like cod, tilapia, and monkfish to name just a few.
Seared Citrus Wild Salmon w. White Wine & Herbs
4-4oz salmon fillets
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons grated orange rind
4 fresh chives
2 thyme sprigs
2 oregano sprigs
2 tarragon sprigs
¼ cup dry white wine
4 (1/8-inch-thick) slices fresh lemon
Preheat oven to 450°. Line a shallow roasting pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper. Place fish on prepared pan. Combine rinds; spread over fish. Arrange chives, thyme, oregano, and tarragon horizontally across fish. Arrange lemon slices on top of herbs and pour white wine over fillets. Cover with foil; seal. Bake at 450° for 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily.
Makes 4 4oz servings. Recipe adapted from www.cookinglight.com.
Calories 253; Fat 9.8g (sat 2.3g,mono 4.3g,poly 2.3g); Protein 28.9g; Cholesterol 75mg; Sodium 292mg; Carbohydrate 0.4g