Oily fish is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids can’t be made by the body, which means they must be obtained through our diet.
Because they help build membranes around each brain and nerve cell, omega-3 fats can improve the structure of neurons, which are the basic working units of our brain.
Omega-3 fats may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, slow cognitive decline, improve memory, reduce stress, and even produce more serotonin – the chemical that’s responsible for keeping us feeling happy. This study found that people with higher levels of omega-3s had improved blood flow to the brain and had better cognitive abilities.
The most effective omega-3 fats are found in oily fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards, and kippers. You can check out some delicious oily fish recipes here.
If you don’t eat fish, you can still get your omega-3 fats from plant sources like flaxseed, soya beans, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts (more on these later). Alternatively, you can take an omega-3 supplement, which can be purchased from stores such as Holland and Barrett* or Amazon.
These are usually made from fish oils, but if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can take a plant-based omega-3 supplement made from micro-algae. If you’re thinking about taking an omega-3 supplement, it’s always a good idea to speak to your GP first. They can advise you on whether taking a supplement is the best course of action for you based on your individual circumstances – and if so, how much you should take.