Salmon: the Ultimate Brain Food

Fatty anything doesn’t sound too good at first blush, right? But, the fatty acids prevalent in salmon, and certain other fish and foods, are great for our brains. Here’s what our good friend and collaborator, Dr. Desai, had to say on the subject…

Having sufficient levels of long chain Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA and EPA) which are abundant in Salmon may be important for preserving brain structure and function with aging. Starting at around 20 yrs of age, our brains lose 2%-3% of volume yearly so that by the time we are in our 70s and 80s our brains have shrunk by about 25%. (1)

Studies have shown that people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and pre-dementia have lower levels of DHA and EPA in their brains and/or blood (brain levels correlate with blood levels). (2,3) Furthermore, lower DHA and EPA levels are associated with smaller brain volumes and cognitive decline, while higher levels correlate with maintaining brain volume over time as well as slower rates of cognitive decline.(4,5,6)

Most importantly, consuming DHA and EPA has been shown to significantly improve both brain function and structure in healthy older adults.(7) People who don’t eat fish may not be able to achieve protective levels of DHA and EPA to help preserve brain function and structure.(6,8) Eating approximately 250 mg per day was observed to bring levels into the protective range within 4 months.(8)

Ready to get some salmon in your diet?! Then get excited: Spruce Camp salmon jerky is coming your way in the November CLEAN.FIT box!

This stuff is delicious (and nutritious!) all on it’s own, but if you want to get creative, check out these quick and easy superfood recipes you can make with it!

  • Salmon Jerky & Avocado – Cut ripe avocado into 1/8-1/4″ thick slices. Pair one slice with one salmon jerky fillet. No salt or other seasonings needed. It’s that easy. Some advanced variations… drizzle a bit of high quality olive oil over each pairing and/or add each pairing to your favorite multigrain or other crackers.

  • Salmon Jerky Baguettes – Split a fresh baguette length-wise with a bread knife and then cut cross-length into 2-3″ sections. Add 2-3 salmon jerky fillets per section and drizzle each with olive oil or honey depending on your craving for savory or sweet. Of course, feel free to add sliced avocado or tomato as you like.

  • Salmon Jerky Salsa Guacamole – Dice salmon jerky into 1/4″ cubes. Dice ripe cherry tomatoes and avocado into 1/2″ cubes. Blend gently with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic salt to taste. Leave it chunky as opposed to a guacamole mash. Eat with your favorite tortilla chips.

We can’t wait to see what other #CleanFitCreations you come up with - be sure to tag us @clean.fit_box on instagram (if you’re a subscriber, you could get your next box for FREE!)



1. E Courchesne, H J Chisum, J Townsend, A Cowles, J Covington, B Egaas, M Harwood, S

Hinds, G A Press. Normal brain development and aging: quantitative analysis at in vivo MR

imaging in healthy volunteers. Radiology. 2000 Sep;216(3):672-82.

2. S C Cunnane, J A Schneider, C Tangney, J Tremblay-Mercier, M Fortier, D A Bennett, M C

Morris. Plasma and brain fatty acid profiles in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s

disease. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;29(3):691-7.

3. P Y Lin, C C Chiu, S Y Huang, K P Su. A meta-analytic review of polyunsaturated fatty acid

compositions in dementia. J Clin Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;73(9):1245-54.

4. G L Bowman, H H Dodge, N Mattek, A K Barbey, L C Silbert, L Shinto, D B Howieson, J A

Kaye, J F Quinn. Plasma omega-3 PUFA and white matter mediated executive decline in older

adults. Front Aging Neurosci. 2013 Dec 16;5:92.

5. J K Virtanen, D S Siscovick, R N Lemaitre, W T Longstreth, D Spiegelman, E B Rimm, I B

King, D Mozaffarian. Circulating omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and subclinical brain

abnormalities on MRI in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study. J Am Heart Assoc. 2013

Oct 10;2(5):e000305.

6. Z S Tan, W S Harris, A S Beiser, R Au, J J Himali, S Debette, A Pikula, C Decarli, P A Wolf, R

S Vasan, S J Robins, S Seshadri. Red blood cell ω-3 fatty acid levels and markers of

accelerated brain aging. Neurology. 2012 Feb 28;78(9):658-64.

7. A V Witte, L Kerti, H M Hermannstädter, J B Fiebach, S J Schreiber, J P Schuchardt, A Hahn,

A Flöel. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids improve brain function and structure in older adults.

Cereb Cortex. 2014 Nov;24(11):3059-68.

8. B Sarter, K S Kelsey, T A Schwartz, W S Harris. Blood docosahexaenoic acid and

eicosapentaenoic acid in vegans: Associations with age and gender and effects of an algalderived omega-3 fatty acid supplement. Clin Nutr. 2015 Apr;34(2):212-8.

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