Fish is brain food

This is an interesting idea whose origin is obscure, but which recent findings have shown may have some scientific validity. Some fish are rich in the kinds of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids called omega 3 fatty acids. They are also found in the brain and in the retina at the back of the eye, which receives light and transforms it into nerve signals. All fish and lean meat contain varying amounts of some long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

Although these fatty acids can be synthesised in the human body from food-derived shorter chain omega-3 fatty acids, it is more efficient if they are eaten in their long-chain form. It is possible that at the time of rapid brain growth early in life there may be a special requirement for omega-3 fatty acids. National nutrition committees are now looking at whether, like other nutrients, there should be Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs) of omega-3 fatty acids, at least for children.

Another interesting aspect of this story is that, in evolutionary terms, we probably emerged at the water's edge and have lived by the water. Thus, fish or shellfish consumption has been an integral part of traditional food habits.