Wild Sockeye Salmon (not farm salmon), having several health benefits, is essentially a brain superfood. First, Wild Salmon and other cold-water fish such as sardines, mackerel, halibut, and tuna are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are thought to improve cognition, mood, and help eliminate beta-amyloid plaque, a main characteristic of Alzheimer’s Disease. According to Massachusetts General Hospital Mind Mood & Memory, Omega-3s:
Help stabilize the membranes of brain cells and make them more elastic and responsive to signals from other cells. Research suggest they improve glucose delivery and metabolism in the brain, suppress inflammation, and promote the elimination of beta-amyloid plaque, a hallmark of AD. An insufficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet has been linked to a number of disorders that impact the brain, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, mood disorders, ischemic stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. (Vol 7 Number 3, March 2011)
As mentioned in an earlier blog, Omega 3s are known to produce arthritic-pain reducing effects, comparable to the effects of ibuprofen. Furthermore, the Omega 3s in salmon make it a natural anti-inflammatory food that also helps decrease levels of Cortisol to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Salmon is also a good source of choline, the primary block for acetylcholine, which is essential for both the storage and recall of memory, and partially responsible for concentration and focus.
Lastly, Mind Mood & Memory notes that as a fish, salmon is a great source of protein low in calories, making it a perfect alternative to meats with unhealthy saturated fats. Fish rich in omega-3s have proved to increase the levels of “good” cholesterol in the blood (Vol 8 Number 4 April 2012).
I eat both salmon and sardines every week. This week, throw some salmon on your menu for an all around brain boost!
- 1.5 lbs salmon fillets
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 sprig fresh dill chopped
- 5 slices lemon
- 5 sprigs fresh dill weed
- 2 green onions chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
- Spray two large pieces of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place salmon fillet on top of one piece of foil.
- Sprinkle salmon with salt, pepper, garlic and chopped dill. Arrange lemon slices on top of fillet and place a sprig of dill on top of each lemon slice. Sprinkle fillet with chopped scallions.
- Cover salmon with second piece of foil and pinch together foil to tightly seal.
- Place on a baking sheet or in a large baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until salmon flakes easily.