Fish-heavy diets could help lower risk of depression

By Kate Hassett

Fish-heavy diets could help lower risk of depression
People considered high risk for mental health issues could benefit greatly from a diet high in seafood, according to study.

In an analysis of previous studies conducted over several years, researchers are suggesting that seafood may play a particularly prominent role in combating a decline in mental health – namely depression

Researchers at the Medical College of Qingdao University in China have pulled together 26 studies, involving a total of 150,278 participants, to assess the effect of seafood on mental health.

Out of the 26 studies, 150,000 people indicated a 17% reduction in the risk of depression among those who had the largest amount of fish in their diets.

Researchers attested to the fact that this correlation exists due to the fatty acids and omega 3’s found in fish, leading to positive effects on the brain.

One possible explanation is that the omega-three fatty acids found in fish could be key in the activity of dopamine and serotonin – two signalling chemicals in the brain thought to be involved in depression.

Prof Dongfeng Zhang, from the Medical College of Qingdao University, said: “Higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression.

“Future studies are needed to further investigate whether this association varies according to the type of fish.”

Rachel Boyd, information manager at Mind, said that “good fats” such as those found in fish are suggested to help those suffering from depression.

“It is important not to oversimplify the results as there are lots of different factors in the development of depression,” she said.

“But we really agree that having these fatty acids in your diet can be helpful, and it’s something where people can make quite small changes that could have quite a big impact.”

 

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