Dear parents, make your children eat fish, soybean, sunflower and walnuts in their adolescence years, as a study has found that a diet lacking omega-3 fatty acids during teenage may increase anxiety-like behaviour and worse performance on a memory task in adulthood.
The study suggests that adequate nutrition in adolescence is important for the refinement of the adult brain and behaviour.
Since high-calorie, low-quality diets tend to be more affordable than healthy ones, teenagers may opt for foods that lack key nutrients important for brain health such as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), which cannot be produced by the human body and must be obtained from foods such as fish and vegetables.
The structure and function of the brain continue to change throughout adolescence, at the same time that teenagers gain increasing independence and begin to make their own food choices.
For the study, researcher Oliver Manzoni with his colleagues fed mice a balanced diet until early adolescence.
Mice fed with the poor diet during adolescence had reduced levels of n-3 PUFA in the medial prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens in adulthood compared to control mice.
The low-quality diet impaired the brain's ability to fine-tune connections between neurons in these regions.
The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.