04/13/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Feed Your Brain with Super Fish

If fish had a campaign slogan it could very well read -- "Does a Noggen Good!"

It's hard to think of a food that has been more important to brain development throughout the course of human history than fish. Scientists know that at some point in our early history, the human brain underwent a massive and very rapid expansion, tripling in size from one pound to three. And there's evidence that this occurred precisely as humans began their first culinary forays into the sea.

Looking at what fish has to offer, the reasons become clear: seafood contains some of the most powerful brain-nourishing compounds known to man, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. Scientists suspect these compounds helped us develop larger, smarter, better brains, in a process that occurred over the course of millions of years of eating fish (yikes, that's a lot of fish!).

But even today, there is very strong evidence that eating fish high in Omega-3 fats can have important beneficial effects, including lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease and slowing the decline of mental faculties as we age. No one is saying that loading up on fish will leave you needing a larger hat size. But eating fish does seem to help the brain run as smoothly as our owner's manual intended.

Personally, I've been whipping up lots of fish lately. But some are much better than others. Your best strategy is to focus on fish that are highest in omega-3's, lowest in contaminants like mercury, and environmentally friendly as well -- "superfish," as I like to call them. Wild salmon, Pacific Halibut and tilapia are a few of the ones you'll find in The 10 Things You Need to Eat.

Last but not least, it also helps to have some easy tasty ways to prepare them. Fish is best prepared quickly and simply, which actually makes it the perfect week-night family meal. Most of the recipes that I came up with for these incredible little "superfish" can be made, start to finish, in under a half-hour -- Rachael Ray eat your heart out!

In the book there's a great recipe for Seared Salmon with Blackberry sauce and Olive-Oil Braised Fennel. This meal if perfect for Valentine's Day. The brightness and sweetness of the dish evokes love and passion, and it's packed with antioxidants and other nutrients that help get the blood flowing ...