Fish has long been considered in myriad cultures to be “brain food,” but only recently has bona fide science begun to support this deep-rooted belief. Researchers now know that the omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and oily fish such as salmon and herring may play a critical role in both development and maintenance of the brain and nerves. Although sufficient amounts of these long-chain fats can be synthesized endogenously by most adults, experts recommend that pregnant women and infants get additional amounts of these compounds from their diets. This, combined with research suggesting that these fats play a critical role in cognitive and visual development during early life, has prompted much research and product development aimed at pregnant women and newborn infants. Studies have also suggested that higher consumption of certain omega-3 fatty acids may also benefit adult mental health as well – for instance, as it might relate to lower risk for depression.
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