Fatty fish – good for the brain

Seafood is brain food, and Omega 3 helps prevent both learning difficulties and dyslexia

Seafood is brain food, and Omega 3 helps prevent both learning difficulties and dyslexia. Now, just before school is ready to start, it can therefore be wise to focus on salmon, trout, or mackerel for school children. Studies in both the USA and Northern Ireland conclude that a deficiency of Omega 3 can be the cause of learning difficulties and dyslexia. Increased supplies of Omega 3 prove to have positive influence on these problems.

Sixty percent of our brain consists of fat, and scientists believe that at least 30% of this fat is Omega 3 fatty acids. These Omega 3 fatty acids are necessary to develop the cells in our body. During pregnancy, the baby receives Omega 3 fatty acids from the mother. The foetus will actually “steal” Omega 3 from the mother. In addition, the child takes in Omega 3 fatty acids through the breast milk, and research shows that children who are breast-fed appear to have a better problem-solving ability – and their IQ scores a few points higher than average.

Even though we do not produce additional brain cells after the age of two years, the brain cells grow and develop "tendrils" to other cells, which is important for learning. This is particularly important for children who are growing and have to master small and large tasks both at school and at home. Fat is essential in order for the cells to grow and develop. The fish fat – Omega 3 – makes the cell membrane more elastic, absorb nutrients more easily, and develop. Amongst other things, the limited development of these ”tendrils” to the brain cells causes us to become forgetful and have problems learning new things when we become older.

Children who are growing and have to learn a lot, need a constant and good supply of Omega 3. This enables them to maintain their concentration at a peak level throughout the entire school day, to acquire knowledge, and become intelligent. It is the same for us who are both a little and a lot older. Amongst other things, we know that older people who eat fish once a week have less of a chance of developing dementia.

We can only take in Omega 3 through the food we eat – our body cannot produce it. Therefore, it is important to ensure that our body gets enough Omega 3. We find Omega 3 primarily in fatty fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring. So, let children and parents have a slice of bread with mackerel in tomato sauce and good dinners with salmon, trout, and other fatty fish on a regular basis throughout the year.

Contact persons:
Marketing Consultant at Norwegian Seafood Export Council, Eidis W. Biehler, telephone: (+47) 97 59 05 02.
Food Consultant Ingebjørg Moe, telephone: (47) 77 60 33 80.

Eating fish lowers risk of dementia – British Medical Journal, October 2002.
Mothers taking Omega 3 during pregnancy boost babies’ intelligence – Institute for Nutrition Research, University of Oslo.