The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts fight inflammation throughout the body and in the brain.
High blood levels of some forms of omega-3 are also associated with improved learning abilities and better performance scores on cognitive testing.
A study published in Psychopharmacology showed that boys who routinely consumed diets enriched with omega-3 fats showed improvements in their ability to pay attention.
Researchers studied 40 boys who had been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and 39 boys without ADHD.
The boys, who were all between 8 and 14 years old, were asked to eat one-third of an ounce of margarine; half received margarine enriched with 650 mg of omega-3 fat.
After 16 weeks, the boys who ate the omega-3-enriched margarine demonstrated improved attention, whether or not they had been diagnosed with ADHD.
The omega-3 diet did not have any effect on impulse control or aggression, other symptoms that can occur in patients with ADHD.
How omega-3 fats might influence behavior and mental symptoms is not known, but they are abundant in the brain and they help with the transmission of brain cell messages.
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