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Was Mom Right About Eating Fish? Does it Really Make You Smarter?

Posted: Sep 11 2016

If your Mom is anything like most Moms, she was always encouraging you to eat fish, saying it will make you smarter! Not just Moms—nutritionists and scientists have been labeling seafood “brain food” for decades, so Mom must have been on to something, right?

According to a variety of studies, the answer to the fish-as-brain-food question is “yes” – and there is another cache of scientific evidence that find mothers who eat seafood during pregnancy are getting their children off to a head start in the intellect department.

Sushi has become a seafood favorite in every corner of America in recent decades, not only for its mouth-watering flavor and visual delights, but for its abundance in protein, vitamins A, B, C and D, and natural Omega-3 fatty acids. So for pregnant women and growing kids, the supplementary “smarts” is an added bonus to the sheer culinary pleasure that sushi offers.

Salmon.Chowder

In the 1960s, British scientists discovered that eating food rich in omega-3 boosted blood flow to the brain and improved its performance during mental tasks.

Add to the many well-known health benefits of omega-3s, found in oily fish such as tuna, more new research claims it can also improve reaction times and reduces fatigue in the brain after performing tough tasks. The British researchers say their findings could be particularly important for older people, as a diet rich in omega-3 has the potential to stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia.

But it’s not all about the Omegas. A more recent study by researchers at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center found that weekly consumption of raw, baked or broiled (but not fried) fish is associated with larger gray matter volume in areas of the brain responsible for memory and cognition—including areas where amyloid plaques, a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, first appear.

Another study led by Joseph R. Hibbeln, a researcher at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, found that children of women who ate fish infrequently during pregnancy had lower IQs and more behavioral and social problems than youngsters whose mothers ate generous amounts of seafood during pregnancy, a finding that challenges the U.S. government's standard advice to limit seafood consumption during pregnancy. Furthermore, Hibbeln and his research team’s study found "no evidence to lend support to the warning of the U.S. advisory that pregnant women should limit their seafood consumption.”

For sushi-loving Moms and kids, this is great news!

In 2001 and 2004, the FDA and the EPA warned women of childbearing age, as well as those who are pregnant or nursing, and young children, to limit seafood consumption—advice based on concerns that they might absorb too much methyl mercury, which builds up in fish caught in waters with high industrial contamination and can lead to neurological disorders. However, a growing number of studies like Hibbeln’s contest this claim.

As far as it’s connection to brain food, the biology of seafood speaks volumes. Two Omega-3s naturally occurring in seafood— eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)— are fundamental building blocks of the central nervous system, and unlike other vital nutrients like Vitamin D for example, our bodies cannot manufacture them naturally. We must consume Omega-3 fatty acids so that our bodies can convert them into DHA and EPA in order to function.

Omega-3 fatty acids—particularly EPA and DHA—also play a critical role in heart health, and are believed to help curb joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis, alleviate symptoms of depression, help visual and neurological development in infants, lower inflammation and improve lung function which helps asthma patients, and reduce symptoms of ADHD.

So, how does a Mom maximize the natural “brain food” abundant in seafood without worrying about mercury contaminants, bacterial contamination and other yuk?

Simple. Know your seafood sources, and take advantage of online markets like Fish For Sushi, whose all natural, preservative-free superfrozen tuna is always completely free of carbon monoxide. Caught by specialized long-line fishermen, far out on the high seas, our freshly caught, sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna is frozen to a core ultra-low temperature (ULT) of -76ºF, the Eutectic Point or EP, right on the boat. The entire process is complete within 10 - 20 hours out of the water, with no opportunity for the kinds of contamination to which most seafood processing plants are susceptible.

Fish For Sushi’s super freezing process borrows from the same process used in the medical industry by blood banks, fertility clinics and labs worldwide to stop the natural decay that begins when the fish is caught.  Our freshly caught tuna is quickly gilled, cleaned, hermetically sealed and immediately put into super freezers right on the boat, with no further processing between catch and your kitchen.

According to food scientist Pete Snyder, Ph.D., the more steps involved in processing any food product, the more vulnerable to contamination. Food items in the U.S., including sushi and other seafood products, go through a long manufacturing production process, during which plenty of opportunities for food contamination arise. In addition to salmonella infection, seafood processed in these plants is at risk of containing mercury, bacteria, parasites and other toxins.

Fish For Sushi’s superior yellowfin tuna, super frozen within hours of catch for maximum freshness, flavor and safety, means you and your children can enjoy the flavor and health benefits of the highest quality seafood, worry-free. No processing plants, no industrial waters, no opportunity for contamination.

Eighty percent of Japan’s freshly caught tuna is super frozen using the same Fish For Sushi process.. Order online, and your Fish For Sushi favorites are transported at the precise ideal temperature to ensure freshness and safety. The result is fresh, delicious, sashimi-quality tuna that's reflected in the vibrant, deep red color it regains upon defrosting— the natural color of freshly caught tuna, complete with all the benefits of natural Omega-3s and gray matter enhancing “brain food” that generations of Moms seem to have always known would benefit their budding Einsteins. We guess it’s a “Mom” thing.

From catch to kitchen, Fish For Sushi delivers top quality tuna and seafood to your door.

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  3. Salmon Sashimi 鮭 (9 oz)

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