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Slow Brain Decline, Reduce Cancer Risk

It’s been two years since we featured a story on fish: “Go Fish” explored benefits for the heart and brain, and rated different types of fish in terms of omega-3 and mercury content. Several recent studies have made quite a splash, so we figured it was time to cast our nets again to bring you the latest on why you should include more fish in your diet.

Canning Cancer: Eating about one serving of fish (3.5 ounces) a day may reduce colorectal cancer risk by 54% according to European researchers who examined dietary data from 478,000 people (the opposite was true for meat: Eating lots of beef, lamb and pork increased risk by 49% while sausage consumption raised risk by 70!).

Ponder the Depths: Seniors who ate as little as one serving of fish per week slowed age-related mental decline by the equivalent of 3 to 4 years according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center. This jives with earlier studies linking fish consumption to lower risk of dementia and stroke.

Douse Disease: Fish consumption could help reduce the kind of chronic inflammation associated with heart disease by a third. A recent Greek study of about 3,000 men and women found that eating more than 3.5 servings (greater than 10.5 ounces) of fish per week reduced the levels of CRP (a marker for heart disease) by an average of 33%.

Another Reason to Smile: Finnish researchers found that women with low fish consumption had over twice the risk of developing depression compared to regular fish eaters. Previous studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids may be behind the benefit.

Bottom Line: Fish consumption may help curb cancer risk, boost brainpower, reduce inflammation and guard against depression.

Looking for a tasty way to incorporate more fish into your diet? Try our Featured Superfood Recipe, “Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon with Fruit Salsa.”

Published December 12, 2005

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