Mackerel The risk of dementia could be lowered to a great extent by incorporating a diet that is rich in fish, states a recently conducted study.

The component that seems to work wonders is docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid often found in fish. DHA is necessary for the growth and development of the brain in infants. It is also required for maintenance of normal brain function in adults.

DHS appears to cut dementia risk and to be important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system, reported health portal HealthDay News.

Mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon are high in DHA.

Ernst J. Schaefer, director of the lipid metabolism laboratory at the Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging in Boston, who led the study said, “If you have a high level of DHA, it reduces your risk of dementia by about half.”

The study, which was published in the latest issue of the Archives of Neurology, found that people with the highest blood levels of DHA had a 47 percent lower risk of developing dementia and a 39 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Dementia is a condition in which there is a gradual loss of brain function. The main symptoms are usually loss of memory, confusion, problems with speech and understanding, changes in personality and behaviour and an increased reliance on others for activities of daily living.

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are also known to protect the heart and the circulatory system.

“Just as fish is good for your heart, it’s probably good for your brain as well,” said Schaefer.