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5 Omega-3 Foods to Boost Your Memory and Mood

November 1, 2012

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Want to have a better memory? Boost your intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids. A recent study showed that young, healthy adults who increased their intake of omega-3s significantly increased their working memory.

While the study couldn’t pinpoint exactly why omega-3s helped boost their memory, this essential fatty acid has been linked to brain health in other areas, including helping with depression, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s.

Omega-3s are not only good for your brain; they also help fight inflammation in your body, keep your blood and heart healthy, lower triglycerides, and regulate insulin response and weight. It’s no wonder that they’re labeled as essential fatty acids.

The three most important omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). They’re called essential because your body is unable to make them on its own, and they play a fundamental role in many of your body’s physiological functions.

So where do you get them? Here are 5 omega-3 rich foods that will give you your essential daily dose:

Flax seeds: These tiny seeds are an excellent source for vegetarians. They can be ground up and put into hot oatmeal or your morning smoothie. Don’t cook with flax seed oil, though – it degrades quickly when heated and you’ll lose the nutritional value. Try this raw vegan flax burger recipe.

Walnuts: This nut, shaped (appropriately) like your brain, is another great source for vegetarians and vegans. Delicious tossed into a big salad at lunch or for snacking in the afternoon. Try this beet and walnut salad from our 100 recipes for a healthy summer.

Sardines: These small fish are not only rich in healthy fat but also promote bone health. Get fresh ones if you can – they are much tastier than canned ones – and you can grill them with a few simple ingredients like lemon, sea salt and herbs.

Salmon: Wild-caught salmon will give you the right kinds of fats. They are higher-quality protein and eat what they’re supposed to eat. The farm-raised varieties eat fish chow. This fish, too, is delicious with a simple preparation, and it can be grilled, broiled, or roasted. Try this salmon with mushroom and red pepper sauce recipe.

Mustard seeds: Who knew this yellow spice also is a good source of healthy fat? Spice up a sautéed dish with mustard seeds, use in Indian cooking, or you could always try your hand at making your own homemade mustard. Try this easy and tasty gayatri greens dish.

What’s your favorite way to get your omega-3 fats?