It’s the latest nutritional fad: Everything from apple juice to eggs is being fortified with omega-3 fatty acids in a bid to improve our brains. But is there any science behind this trend? Or are lots of people ingesting cod liver oil for no particular reason?
In the new issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a neurosurgeon and neuroscientist at UCLA, investigates the evidence linking diet and brain performance. From his survey of more than 50 credible studies, he concludes that some foods really do affect the way we think. In fact, the disproportionate presence of certain compounds in cuisines may even explain the mental health of whole nations. (He hypothesizes, for instance, that the fish-rich diet of the Japanese is responsible for their extremely low levels of depression.) Another supernutrient is folic acid, present in spinach and avocados, which seems to suppress the aging process in neurons. So do your brain a favor: Whip up some delicious guacamole infused with cod liver oil.
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