Eat Fish for Stress Release and Brain Health

Eat Fish for Stress Release and Brain Health

Eating Fish for Mental Health and Cognitive Function

Seafood offers nutritional benefits that can reduce stress and anxiety and improve intelligence

When you dig into the perfect cut of salmon, you’re doing more than rewarding your taste buds with a delicious meal. Eating fish has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve cognitive function, and ward off mental illness.

So, if you’re experiencing moodiness or looking to improve focus and general wellbeing, a regular seafood consumption may be the solution you’re looking for.

Fish Offers Beneficial Nutrients for Brain Health

Did you know that your brain contains a minimum of 60% fat? It’s true. The brain is the fattiest organ in your body—which is why it needs a steady diet of healthy fats to function at optimal levels.

Enter seafood for brain health. Fish is loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, the perfect food for your brain. In particular, salmon and other fatty fish such as albacore tuna, mackerel and herring contain high levels of DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, a requirement for healthy mental function that stabilizes cell walls in the brain.

Yet, fatty acids are just one reason why eating fish is good for your brain. The zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and other vitamins and minerals found in seafood also support healthy cognition.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Depression

It’s easy to think of depression as a result of negative thinking or difficult life situations.

Research, however, links moodiness to a variety of factors, including the lack of healthy fats in our diets. Case in point: people who eat fish on a regular basis—about eight-12 ounces or two-three servings a week—are 20% less likely than their peers to have depression. Plus, mental health medications are more effective when combined with the protein and fatty acids found in fish.

Using fish for mental health is so useful that the American Psychiatric Association endorsed fatty acids and fish oil as an effective element of treatment protocols. The organization recommends two or more servings of salmon, trout or other fatty fish per week.

Eating Fish for Stress and Anxiety

Studies abound demonstrating that seafood can reduce stress and anxiety when eaten on a regular basis. However, it can even support improved mental health in people with substance abuse problems.

And here’s another fun fact: eating fish was recently demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety in new and expecting parents. Moms who regularly consume fish enjoy reduced postpartum psychological stress. Fathers, meanwhile, experience less stress and anxiety during their partners’ pregnancy when eating seafood regularly.

Grow Up Smarter… Age More Healthfully

All those omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids do more than help us feel better. Eating fish can also make kids smarter and help older adults reduce cognitive decline.

A recent study showed that children who eat fish at least once a week have higher IQs by an average of four points, compared with children who consume fish less frequently or not at all. This same study demonstrated a connection between seafood consumption and improved sleep, which gives the brain—and the body—valuable time to rest and regenerate.

As for healthy aging, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can ward off dementia by protecting white matter, a critical factor in powering memory.

So, no matter where you are in life—parenting young children, climbing the corporate ladder or aging gracefully into retirement—don’t forget to enjoy fish like salmon and tuna on a regular basis. It can do wonders for you and your brain.

February 5, 2021
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