Eating fish may help curb depression

Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide and is expected to become the second leading cause of ill health by the end of this decade.

But according to scientists writing in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, eating  a lot of fish could protect your against depression.

After analysing more than 100 articles, including 26 studies, the experts discovered people living in Europe who eat the most fish are 17 percent less likely to be affected by depression than those who eat the least. Interestingly, when they looked specifically at gender, they found more men were protected from depression by eating fish than women (20 percent compared with 16 percent).

And while they could not explain exactly why eating fish may help you avoid depression, the scientists suggest it could be because the omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish may modify the activity of brain chemicals that are thought to be involved in depression.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as sardines, pilchards, salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, herring, anchovies and trout. These and other oily fish are also good sources of vitamin D. Some oily fish that contain bones that you eat – including whitebait, tinned sardines, tinned pilchards and tinned salmon – can also help keep your bones healthy because they contain calcium.

White fish such as cod, haddock, plaice, coley and red mullet contain some omega-3 fatty acids, but not at such high levels as oily fish.

According to the NHS, a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, including one portion of oily fish. However, most people in this country don’t get enough fish – including oily fish – in their diet.

  • If you don’t like eating fish, you may be missing out on some beneficial nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids. One way to compensate may be to take a good-qualify fish oil supplement – ask your pharmacist to recommend a product that would be suitable for you.

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