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      The stats tell it all: The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease. That’s right, more than any other disease – even cancer (a close second) – heart disease is the most likely to kill you. The United States is currently facing a “diabesity” epidemic, or a substantial increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and obesity, all serious risk factors for heart disease.

      According to the American Heart Association, every 34 seconds someone in the US dies of a heart attack. By the time you finish reading this paragraph, another person will have lost their life. Sadly, many people do not even know they have heart disease until they experience a heart attack. These facts alone make Heart Health a critical topic to understand.

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    • Skin Health

      The gut-skin connection is very significant. Inflammatory processes present in the gut may manifest on the skin. Toxins are expelled with sweat, and can cause the skin to react. Like the inside of the digestive tract, the skin is covered in microbes which can be neutral, protective or pathogenic. Skin reaction may reflect what is going on inside the body. Therefore treating skin conditions only from the outside will often be ineffective and lead to other chronic issues.

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    • Brain Health

      The gut-brain connection occurs in two directions—from the brain to the gut, and from the gut to the brain. When a person has a “gut feeling,” or an emotional upset causes a stomachache or loss of appetite, they experience examples of the first, most familiar direction. When the gut is out of balance, inflammation results leading to a condition commonly known as leaky gut. A leaky gut will allow undigested food particles and toxins to enter into the bloodstream. Some may cross into the brain, setting the stage for diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. Recognizing the underlying contributing factors that created the gut imbalance in the first place is the first step to achieving optimal brain function .

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Lutein Ups “Crystalized Intelligence”

Filed in Adults, Brain, Diet, Longevity, Mental Health, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized, Vegetables | Posted by Jemma Sinclaire on 01/04/2017


Lutein, greens and crucifers - brendawatson.com

The time-honored phrase “eat your greens” has taken on a new twist – with a spotlight on lutein. It has to do with “crystallized intelligence” which is the brain’s ability to use the skills and knowledge one has acquired over a lifetime. I read about this last week in an article in Science Daily.

A recent study reported in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience focused on lutein, one of several plant pigments that are contained in a living diet. Lutein is found primarily in leafy green vegetables, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and also in egg yolks. Lutein has been found to accumulate in the brain (this is a good thing!) where it seems to protect the neurons.

The areas in the brain where lutein is discovered have been associated in previous research with healthy functioning of the brain as it ages. In particular, this study imaged parts of the temporal cortex through MRI and also collected blood samples to determine lutein levels. High blood lutein levels seemed to parallel the appearance of thicker gray matter in the parahippocampal cortex.

Researchers feel, and I quote “We did find that lutein is linked to crystallized intelligence through the parahippocampal cortex.’ And they go on to say “…our finding adds to the evidence suggesting that particular nutrients slow age-related declines in cognition by influencing specific features of brain aging”.

As our abilities to identify and scan the brain continue to grow I know that more and more nutrients that we take for granted in healthy diets will be shown to be star players in healthy brain and body aging. Generally, this information probably seems as obvious to you as it does to me, and as we know, the more scientific evidence that is gathered, the more people sit up and pay attention. That will increase our chances for a truly healthy future.

One more little tidbit – in a study done by the University of Warwick it was actually found that eating more fruits and vegetables, up to eight portions per day, can substantially increase people’s happiness levels over time!

So there you have it. Improved cognitive function, more happy! As we love to say in Rule 2 of Skinny Gut Diet – Eat Living Foods Every Day to Balance Your Gut! In addition to balancing your gut, as an extra bonus you will balance your brain and your emotions too.

Cut the Stress, Free Your Mind

Filed in Adults, Alzheimer's, Brain, Dementia, Depression, Mental Health, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Stress, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 12/01/2016


Free Your Mind From Stress - brendawatson.com

One of the joys of the holiday season is when we reconnect with our families, young and old. Of course, it’s great fun when we get to hear of our Grandparent’s exciting trip they took to Ireland last year. But for some families the reunions are more bittersweet, as we notice the progressive changes that a year has taken on our loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Last weekend I saw an impactful edition of 60 Minutes on TV. Follow this link to view it yourself. In summary, it documents the struggles of a unique Columbian family that has a rare and disastrous genetic mutation, resulting in roughly 50% of their lineage to fall prey to very early onset Alzheimer’s followed by an approximate 10 year decline into oblivion. The episode is extraordinary to watch (grab your Kleenex box), and a clinical trial has begun that may offer incredible insights and even a possible cure into this dismaying disease. Please note that this type of Alzheimer’s is very rare. My prayers go out to this brave family.

Don’t despair, I have some good news for you here should you have concern about a bit too much forgetfulness lately. From an entirely different perspective, an encouraging article I read in the Wall Street Journal this week wants us to know that although Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US, the chances of actually having a dementia condition like Alzheimer’s at a relatively early age – and early is defined as between 50 and 65 – is actually more remote than you might have imagined.

If you’ve been concerned, it’s far more likely that you are simply experiencing very normal age-associated declines in cognitive skills that can be greatly exacerbated by other lifestyle factors like exhaustion due to sleep issues, overwork, drug side effects, substance abuse, depression or adult attention deficit disorder. The general term for this situation is “brain fog”. Yes.

STRESS, along with a buffet of the choices we are casually offered in our society to deal with demanding circumstances to the best of our ability can magnify memory and cognition issues – and fog us up like we live across the bay from San Francisco. Uncover the stress that is intensifying the symptoms and clarity can again be yours.

Of course, if you have watched a family member decline into senility, you may be more sensitive to changes you note in your own life. And worrying that you are not at the top of your game can be absolutely debilitating. A well-intentioned physician may prescribe you an aid that doesn’t really benefit your particular situation. Or a seemingly relaxing habit like a drink or medication before bed may rob you of much needed deep sleep and clarity in the long run.

I’m not saying to ignore memory and cognition lapses. I am saying to love yourself, take a deep breath and attempt to evaluate the stress level you’re expecting yourself to function at. Would you even suggest that level of stress to your 30 year old niece? Probably not.

And if you are seriously concerned that your thoughts seem to be slipping, seek out an expert such as a geriatric psychiatrist or a neurologist who can review your symptoms and run appropriate tests.

In my experience, dietary choices and toxicity are always involved in any type of cognitive and mental issues. Caring for ourselves by making healthy meal choices, drinking plenty of water, exercise – all these are guaranteed to clear away a bit of that fog. And a great research study I read the other day (one of many) clearly demonstrates that probiotics, those good bacteria in your gut, may help boost memory and learning for Alzheimer’s patients. If they can do that for someone that already has symptoms, imagine how helpful they may be for the rest of us!

My greatest wishes are for you to enjoy a clear and joy-filled holiday – and please remember – cut the stress! You’ll free your mind!

Dementia Concerns? Speed-training!

Filed in Brain, Dementia, Digestive Health, Exercise, Mental Health, The Skinny Gut Diet, Uncategorized | Posted by Brenda Watson on 08/05/2016


Dementia in Brain Strengthened by Speed Reading - brendawatson.com

Have you ever worried that dementia might creep up on you? If so, do you have any idea what you might do now to lessen your chances of dementia developing? I know that I’ll do just about anything to maintain the sparkle in my brain! I think I found something great for us. I’d like to introduce you to a computer exercise named “speed-training”.

An article I read in the Wall Street Journal described the results of a 10-year study regarding dementia. It was reported that speed-training may greatly reduce our future risk of developing dementia.

The study funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Nursing Research, involved 2,832 healthy individuals between the ages of 65 and 94. Research was conducted at six sites around the US. It was a random trial where participants would receive one of three cognitive training programs, with a fourth group set up as a control. The study continued for 10 years!

The results of the ‘first of its kind’ study were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last July 24th. Toronto was the site of this event which was the world’s largest gathering of Alzheimer’s researchers in one place. The study, named ‘Active’ (Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly) was very happily received.

The speed-training subjects were initially given 10 one-hour training sessions over five weeks, with an instructor on hand should help be needed. Booster sessions were provided for certain participant groups a year later and then three years later. As I mentioned earlier, the subjects were followed for 10 years.

Some participants only received an initial 10 hours of training at the start of the study. This group demonstrated on average a 33% lower risk for developing dementia all those years later. The group that received the additional follow-up sessions showed a risk reduction of 48%! Please note however that these results are still considered preliminary pending peer review and publication.

No matter, I find these initial findings very hopeful! I was pleased to learn that the computer program is available now since it’s common for exciting research data to be presented years ahead of our ability to actually make use of it.

I was interested to read that the Active study included previous research on other brain training as a part of their report. At different points, I have initiated these types of programs into my own daily routines. 

As presented, tthree different types of brain training studied all led to improvements in cognitive function and the ability to perform daily living skills, such as preparing a meal. Especially relevant is that speed-training surpassed the other techniques in reducing the incidence of at-fault car crashes and averting declines in health. I was truly excited to learn that it seemed to be effective in preventing symptoms of depression too. Now that’s some computer program, I’d say!

The specific exercise used in the study was developed by the research team. However usage rights were acquired by Posit Science of San Francisco. They’ve developed a more user-friendly version of the game called Double Decision. That program is now part of the company’s BrainHQ online service. A monthly subscription including access to Double Decision is $14/month or $96/yr.

Speed-training is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of processing visual information and expand the useful field of view (UFOV). UFOV is the visual area within which a person can make quick decisions and pay attention without moving their eye or head. It seems UFOV decreases as we age, and a decline in UFOV is associated with a decreased ability to perform daily tasks, particularly driving a car.

Clinical studies on the brain that validate subjective testimonials can be hard to find. That’s why I am excited to discover a study like this.

“For the majority of brain fitness products sold today the marketing hype has exceeded the science. The Active results will definitely provide a big credibility boost to the field,” says Murali Doraiswamy, director of the neuro-cognitive disorders program at Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C.

I certainly imagine this is just the first of many long-term studies with a focus on brain fitness. A future clinical trial has already been proposed to determine the optimal dose of speed-training (that’s a question that occurred to me!). The research team also wants to clarify the effects this activity has on the brain.

Speed-training seems to offer huge benefits with very minimal risk, if any at all. Imagine if we couple brain fitness exercise with food choices that support brain and body health.  Dr. Perlmutter makes excellent suggestions in Brain Maker and I know that Skinny Gut Diet recommendations are great brain food, too! These reasonable efforts can yield giant rewards over time. Brain exercise and brain diet are a natural pair.

By the way, the recommended time to begin speed-training is age 50. Have you tried this exercise or one like it? Did you feel that the time you spent was valuable? Please let me know. My wish for you is a clear mind and healthy body always!

Brain Invaders!

Filed in Alzheimer's, Brain, Immune System, Leaky Gut | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/02/2016


Brain Aging - brendawatson.com

Today I’d like to share with you some very though-provoking research I came across that was reported in our local paper, the Tampa Bay Times, regarding brain aging.

A Harvard research team is exploring the idea that Alzheimer’s disease could be the result of the body’s attempt to fight off infection. Their study focus is those plaque balls that are called beta amyloid.

You see, the brain is an area that is absolutely not supposed to be breached by bacteria or foreign substances – at all! For years, scientists believed that the blood-brain barrier was virtually impermeable. Now we know differently.

However should the brain’s defenses be breached, the immune system apparently becomes quite aggressive in walling off the invader, be it a virus, fungi or bacterium.

The groundbreaking evidence thus far seems to show that the defense system of the brain creates a sticky cage out of proteins called beta amyloids, literally trapping an offending microbe until it dies. These cages remain and form the plaques that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The true function of the beta amyloids has been a mystery until now. It appears that in the body’s emergency response to protect the brain, the long-term repercussions may produce Alzheimer’s disease!

Once again these beautiful human bodies that we live in show remarkable abilities to protect us from harmful influences. Although no one would hope for Alzheimer’s disease, one day we may realize that without those cages of beta amyloids trapping all sorts of pathogens within them, people could be overcome by myriad brain infections all the time, suffer miserably, perhaps die quickly. Time will tell. I’m very curious.

For now, I reflect on the importance of maintaining the integrity and health of all our body systems to the best of our ability through appropriate eating habits, exercise, and lifestyle choices.

The question remains – how do we protect the brain from infection in the first place? Perhaps the next Harvard research project might be – how do we strengthen the integrity of that delicate blood-brain barrier against initial infection?

I feel certain those future answers to “Leaky Brain” will align perfectly with creating a healthy intestinal wall, further protecting us from Leaky Gut. As our understanding of the Gut-Brain connection expands, it will positively offer us even more amazing breakthroughs for health far into our futures.

Thinking With Your Gut

Filed in Adults, Brain, Digestive Health, Fermentation, Human Microbiome, Probiotics & Gut Flora, The Skinny Gut Diet | Posted by Brenda Watson on 03/25/2016


If you’ve been feeling emotionally taxed (pun intended – yes, this is the season) and/or mentally foggy, I have a suggestion for you. Increase your intake of fermented foods containing those good bacteria, probiotics.

Recently I interviewed Dr. Emeran Mayer for my upcoming television special, Natural Breakthroughs with Brenda Watson. Dr. Mayer is professor of medicine at UCLA, a specialist in gastroenterology and is the director of the UCLA Centre for the Neurobiology of Stress. He has written several books that explore the brain-gut connection and in fact has a new book coming out in July that combines cutting-edge neuroscience with the latest discoveries on the human microbiome.

I wanted to share the results of a study that Dr. Mayer and his team conducted with 36 healthy women that may take the edge off your day. He divided the women into 3 groups that committed to drinking a specific beverage twice a day for four weeks. One group drank milk fermented with probiotics, the second drank milk without probiotics, and the third drank a non-milk product.

The women agreed to undergo functional magnetic resonance imaging of their brains before and after the four-week period. The test results of the group drinking the fermented milk positively affected the activity of brain regions that control the central processing of emotion, sensation and even task completion, compared to the other two groups. That’s certainly a direct gut-brain connection. And a calming and productive one at that!

Eating fermented foods on a daily basis is a core concept in the Skinny Gut Diet. Fermentation educator Donna Schwenk joined us during the filming of that public television special, and shared many simple recipes. Milk can easily be fermented to create kefir, a food that naturally offers a rich diversity of probiotic species. Kefir can be enjoyed as a beverage, or included as an ingredient of a wide array of other delicious treats, from ice cream to salad dressing to smoothies.

Fermented vegetables are my personal favorite. Although cabbage is certainly a versatile crowd favorite, I really enjoy culturing different veggies like asparagus, broccoli and carrots. Through the ages, fermenting has been used around the globe to extend the life of foods, and without direct awareness at the time, people’s lives were improved too. There are even some great tools that make fermenting easier than you can imagine, and great fun too!

Although some people in our germ-phobic society may be worried about the safety of fermenting, when we ferment produce whether we use salt or a starter culture, the probiotic lactobacilli predominate, crowding out potential bad guys in the process. It’s interesting to note that improperly washed raw veggies out of our gardens or from the store can actually contain harmful microbes and can potentially create more issues than their fermented counterparts.

Adding more probiotics in any form into your daily routine is a sure winner – for a healthier gut and a sharper brain!

Need a Natural Health Breakthrough?

Filed in Adults, Alzheimer's, Brain, Cats, Dementia, Depression, Dogs - Pets, Environmental Toxins, Fermentation, Heart Disease, Human Microbiome, Immune System, Longevity, Obesity, Parkinson's, Probiotics & Gut Flora, Weight Loss | Posted by Brenda Watson on 06/18/2015


Many of you who know me or have followed me for years know I’ve dedicated a great deal of my life to sharing knowledge on natural health options that you may not have known about.  Things like digestive health, cardiovascular care, toxicity, weight loss and more.  Well I’m at it again!

I am currently working on a new television series called Natural Health Breakthroughs with Brenda Watson.

What is Natural Health Breakthroughs?

This new series is designed to bring you the latest and most innovative health care options.

Health options that you can benefit from such as Stem Cell Therapy, Integrative Cardiovascular Therapy, Fecal Transplant, and the latest Genetic Testing.  I also cover topics such as Food Sensitivities, Brain Health, Gut Health, Effects of Environmental and Chemical Toxicity, even Natural Health for your pets.

These things are not secret, but they are not widely known either. And what’s not being shared are the amazing success stories all around us – people like you and me doing things far better than relying on drugs or having unnecessary procedures.

This information is something everyone should have, but I need your help to make that happen.

So far I have been able to fund and produce five episodes.  These five episodes are complete and ready to go and include: Integrative Cardiovascular Care; Better Health For Your Brain; How Fermented Foods Could Change Your Life; The Gut Microbiome and How It’s Changing Health Care; Toxicity and It’s Detrimental Effects on Generations to Come.

Now I need your help to finish the next five episodes.

The next five episodes are slated to include:   Stem Cell research and therapies and how to get them; how genetic testing could change your health care; food sensitivities and why they may be your hidden issue; latest research on obesity and surprising factors in your weight gain; natural health options for your pet and much more.

Now, here’s the thing! In order for any television station to air this series they need at least 10 episodes.  With your help we can finish the next 5 and be able to bring this information to you and your family.

I can’t imagine the information I already have in the 5 episodes so far just sitting there not able to be viewed by the thousands of people it can help.  That thought just makes my stomach turn!

In order to make the right decision about your health you have to have the information. It is a choice after all.  And that’s exactly what I am trying to do – give you choices for your health.

To find out more about my new show and how you can help please visit my page on the website Indiegogo: http://igg.me/at/BrendaWatson

Diabetes Linked to Memory Decline

Filed in Alzheimer's, Brain, Dementia, Diabetes, Mental Health | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/30/2015


According to recent statistics, 29.1 million people—that’s 9.3 percent of the population—have diabetes. Almost 30 percent of these people have not been diagnosed, however. It gets worse. Fully 86 million more people—that’s over one third of U.S. adults—have prediabetes (high blood sugar, the precursor to diabetes), yet ninety percent of them don’t know it. Truly, these numbers reveal the epidemic nature of this largely preventable disease.

A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people diagnosed with diabetes during midlife are more likely to experience memory and cognitive problems during the next 20 years than those people with healthy blood sugar levels. A 60-year-old with diabetes will exhibit the same cognitive decline as a healthy person who is five years older. Diabetes shaves five years off your cognitive health, just like that.

“The lesson is that to have a healthy brain when you’re 70, you need to eat right and exercise when you’re 50,” noted lead researcher Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, MPH.

The study followed a group of almost 16,000 middle-aged adults and found 19 percent more cognitive and memory decline in people with poorly controlled diabetes, and found smaller declines even in people with controlled diabetes and prediabetes.

“Knowing that the risk for cognitive impairments begins with diabetes and other risk factors in midlife can be a strong motivator for patients and their doctors to adopt and maintain long-term healthy practices,” noted A. Richey Sharrett, MD, DrPH, another researcher.

News that high blood sugar increases risk for dementia is not new. In fact, Alzheimer’s disease is also known as type 3 diabetes. If you have not had your blood sugar checked recently, please do. Ask your doctor to also check your insulin level, which is a sign that blood sugar abnormalities may be on the horizon.

Reversing Memory Loss with Personalized Natural Treatments

Filed in Alzheimer's, Brain, Dementia, Seniors | Posted by Brenda Watson on 01/26/2015


Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million patients in the United States and 30 million worldwide. Recent estimates suggest that Alzheimer’s is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind cardiovascular disease and cancer. Women are affected more than men, such that a woman’s chance of developing the disease is now greater than her chance of developing breast cancer.

There is currently no medication that effectively treats the disease despite billions of dollars spent on research. In a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the journal Aging, Dale Bredesen, MD, director of the Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at UCLA reports on case studies using a personalized therapeutic program that involves multiple modalities designed to achieve metabolic enhancement for neurodegeneration.

Each patient was treated in an individualized way based on lab results obtained at the beginning of the study. All patients followed a diet that eliminated simple carbohydrates and processed foods, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption. They fasted for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime, and for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast. They exercised on a regular basis and tried to sleep as close to eight hours as possible, taking melatonin if needed. Some patients added meditation and relaxation to address stress. Additional supplementation, sometimes extensive, was given to the patients based on their lab results. Many of the patients received vitamin D, coQ10, probiotics, fish oil, active B vitamins, and antioxidants. For a complete list of supplements, see the full study here. Some patients received hormone replacement therapy, again based on lab results.

Of the ten patients Bredesen treated, nine displayed improvement in cognition within three to six months. The one patient who did not improve had a very late stage Alzheimer’s disease, which may explain the lack of response. Of the six patients who had discontinued working or were struggling with their work, all of them experienced improved performance and could return to work or continue working.

“Results from the ten patients reported here suggest that memory loss in patients with subjective cognitive impairment, mild cognitive impairment, and at least the early phase of Alzheimer’s disease, may be reversed, and improvement sustained, with the therapeutic program described here,” noted Bredesen. “However, at the current time the results are anecdotal, and therefore a more extensive, controlled clinical trial is warranted.”

Although the protocol was not easy to follow, these patients were aware of the poor prognosis of their disease and that the cognitive decline was, for the most part, untreatable, so they were motivated to adhere to the treatment.

Dr. Bredesen is a pioneer in his field. His personalized approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease is commendable. His work is similar to the work done by other functional medicine doctors like Dr. David Perlmutter. More studies are needed to help bring such treatments to more doctors around the country so that we can finally get to the root cause of the imbalances that lead to such chronic diseases as Alzheimer’s.

2 Reasons to Love Your Omega-3s this Holiday Season

Filed in Brain, Depression, Omega-3 & Fish Oil | Posted by Brenda Watson on 12/19/2014


The holidays can take a toll on your body—both physically and mentally. Whether you’re entertaining at home or traveling to see friends and family, remember that your health is the most precious gift of all. Here are two good reasons to take your Omega-3s this season!

  1. Seasonal Depression? Omega-3s to the Rescue

Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), affects roughly 500,000 Americans every year, and according to the Mayo Clinic three out of every four SAD sufferers are women. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include sadness, anxiety, fatigue, irritability and weight gain. However, a recent review of clinical studies points to omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil as a possible way to alleviate those symptoms and help SAD sufferers endure the long winter months.

Looking at the results of several studies, including one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and one from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, researchers concluded that the beneficial omega-3 fats found in fish oil—specifically EPA and DHA—helped ease depressive symptoms and improve mood. Vitamin D supplementation is also important, said researchers, since people suffering from depression and mental health disorders are often deficient in vitamin D.

  1. Go Easy on the Alcohol, But Just in Case…

Alcohol in excess is never good for your body, but the holidays have a way of thwarting our healthy habits. On the bright side, results of a new study from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine reveal how fish-derived omega-3 DHA may help protect against alcohol-related brain damage because of its natural antiinflammatory properties. In a study involving rats, results showed 90% less inflammation and cell death in brain cells exposed to alcohol and omega-3 DHA when compared to those exposed to alcohol alone.

Omega-3 DHA in Breast Milk Linked to Higher Test Scores Later in Life

Filed in Brain, Children, Diet, Omega-3 & Fish Oil | Posted by Brenda Watson on 11/05/2014


Omega-3 fats are known to be beneficial to brain health, especially the omega-3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA is found in cold-water fatty fish and in algae, and can be obtained by consuming fish high in DHA (salmon, sardines, and herring, in particular), fish oil supplements, or vegetarian DHA supplements derived from algae. Throughout every phase of life, DHA plays a role in protecting and improving brain health.

In a recent study published in the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, researchers compared the fatty acid levels of breast milk with children’s academic test scores. The researchers used data on DHA content of breast milk and test scores from 28 countries. They found that higher amounts of omega-3 DHA in mothers’ milk strongly predicted later test performance in their children. DHA levels predicted test scores even more strongly than national income or dollars spent per pupil in school.

“Human intelligence has a physical basis in the huge size of our brains—some seven times larger than would be expected for a mammal with our body size,” noted Steven Gaulin, one of the researchers. “Since there is never a free lunch, those big brains need lots of extra building materials—most importantly they need omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA.”

While economic well-being did play a role in predicting test scores, “If you had to choose one, you should choose the better diet rather than the better economy,” noted Gaulin. That says a lot, doesn’t it?

Dietary omega-3 intake in the United States is woefully low, and to add insult to injury, omega-6 intake is extremely high. To combat this imbalance, be sure to eat plenty of fish high in omega-3, and add a DHA supplement to ensure you are getting enough.