fatty fish

  1. Feed your brain some fat

    There are plenty of places on the body where you definitely don't want fat building up.

    Hello, gut.

    But there's one place you want as fat as can be, and that's right inside your skull. Your brain is actually 60 percent fat -- and the most critical fats of all when it comes to brain health are the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil.

    Now, a new study confirms just how important those fats are for your thinker: People with the lowest levels have aging, shrinking brains and problems remembering what they had for breakfast.

    Since the most prominent fat in your brain is DHA, the study of 1,575 dementia-free seniors also finds that it's the most important one for brain health. The 25 percent with the lowest blood levels of DHA had the smallest brain volumes.

    And, yes -- when it comes to brains, bigger is definitely better.

    Younger is better, too. And while you can't turn back the clock, your brain can get old before its time -- and seniors with the lowest DHA levels had brains that seemed two years older, according to the study in Neurology.

    That's what's going on inside the head.

    Out in the real world, seniors with the lowest omega-3 levels did worse on just about every test thrown their way -- including tests on visual memory as well as executive functions such as problem-solving, multitasking, and abstract thought.

    Along with charging your thinking cap, omega-3 fatty acids can also help slash your risk of heart problems, stroke, macular degeneration, and more. They can even lower your risk of gum disease.

    But let's stick to the brain today.

    In addition to those omega-3s, be sure to get plenty of B vitamins. Studies have shown that seniors who get high levels of B6, B12 and folate have bigger brains, better memory, and more overall protection from dementia's top risk factors.

    You can read more about that B vitamin and dementia link right here.

    Meats tend to be richest in B vitamins, but the best way to get what your brain needs is with a quality B complex from a trusted vitamin maker.

    Similarly, you can get omega-3 fatty acids from a diet rich in fatty fish -- but since most people don't eat nearly enough salmon, herring, and anchovies, add an omega-3 supplement to your shopping list if you're not taking one already.

    For one more way to power up your grey matter, keep reading.

  2. Fish oil and vitamin A can save your vision

    Some two million people around the world suffer from a serious degenerative eye disease that literally has no treatment at all beyond "cross your fingers and hope for the best."

    But if you're suffering from the gradual -- and ultimately total -- loss of vision that marks retinitis pigmentosa, you don't have to cross your fingers anymore.

    New research led by Harvard University shows an easy way to stop this frightening condition in its tracks -- and it's not a new drug with side effects or an operation with risks.

    It's an ordinary vitamin mixed with a little bit of fish.

    Three clinical trials show that megadoses of vitamin A -- 15,000 IU a day -- combined with 0.2 grams a day of omega-3 fatty acids can slow the loss of vision by between 40 percent and 50 percent.

    In real numbers, that could add up to an extra 18 years of vision.

    The researchers don't know for sure why roughly two servings of fatty fish a week can have such a powerful impact on all that vitamin A, but they've got their eyes on one omega-3 fatty acid in particular: DHA.

    Your retina is already loaded with DHA (which is why fatty fish -- not carrots -- is what you should be eating for good vision even if you're healthy). And in the case of retinitis pigmentosa, the researchers believe extra DHA is needed to help carry the vitamin A from the photoreceptor cells that have it to those that don't.

    The result isn't a cure for retinitis pigmentosa, but it could dramatically change the prognosis.

    Right now, someone with this condition can expect to go blind by the age of 60. With vitamin A and fish oil, that might be delayed until they're almost 80 -- or right around our actual life expectancy these days.

    Since too much vitamin A can interfere with vitamin D and may even increase your risk of osteoporosis, don't try treating yourself on this one -- talk to your doctor about the best and safest way to raise your A levels.

    And don't forget to add the fish oil -- because along with helping to slow retinitis pigmentosa, omega-3 fatty acids can also slash your risk of both the "wet" and "dry" forms of macular degeneration.

  3. Fish oil can slash A-fib risk

    Fish oil isn't just the best natural way to fight the ravages of heart disease -- it's also the best way to avoid problems with your ticker in the first place.
  4. Nothing fishy about it: Seafood will boost your brainpower

    "Fish is brain food" is the kind of age-old folk wisdom that's been proven time and again by cutting-edge science -- and the latest research confirms that the best way to keep your brain swimming in gray matter is with a steady diet of fish.
  5. Seaweed for heart health

    But in Asia, this nuisance is on the menu -- and with good reason, too: Seaweed is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and a new review of the research finds it can boost your heart health like nothing else.

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