According to a new study in the August 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,the advantages of eating fish to help stave off dementia can be seen globally. Over 24 million people worldwide suffer from dementia, and many live in low- and middle-income countries. There have been a number of studies recently that looked at whether foods, particularly oily fish and meat, might influence the onset and/or severity of dementia. Oily fish are rich in omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, which some studies suggest are positively related to cognitive function in later life. Conversely, there is a suggestion from some studies that increased meat consumption may be related to cognitive decline. To examine this, a group of international researchers studied older people in 7 middle- to low-income countries. Data from 14,960 participants over age 65 living in China, India, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Peru were analyzed to assess dietary habits. In each of the study countries except India, there was an inverse association between fish consumption and dementia prevalence. (The relationship between meat consumption and dementia remains unclear.) Oily fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel, bluefish and trout.
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