4 research studies showing fish may improve mental health

A large body of research has emerged over the years that shows a healthy diet is connected with positive mental health, and a significant portion of that research also shows the opposite (poor diet is connected to poor mental health).

Although we advocate a holistic nutritional approach to mental health (a variety of fresh, nutritious foods), one food source keeps popping up in the research: fish.

Here are 4 recent research studies showing that eating fish may improve our mental health.

Korean researchers analyzed the data of nearly 400 adults under the age of 65 who had been diagnosed with depression. They found that those who ate fish 1–3 times per week had reduced odds of having depression compared to those who ate it less than once per week, and those who ate fish at least 4 times per week had even lower odds of having depression.

American researchers randomly assigned nearly 100 participants into two groups: a placebo group and a group that received omega-3 supplements. Omega-3 is primarily found in fish. They discovered that the executive function in participants who received the omega-3 supplements had significantly improved when compared to those who received the placebo capsules.

Dutch and Australian researchers randomly assigned 53 participants to one of two groups: a control group and a group participating in the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet includes, among other things, a moderately high intake of fish. What they discovered was that the participants in the Mediterranean diet group had lower scores between the first and last days for anxiety, anger, fatigue, alertness, contentedness, and confusion.

South Korean researchers analyzed 6 studies to investigate any connections between omega-3 fatty acid consumption and depression in the elderly. Collectively, the 6 studies involved over 4,600 participants. They discovered that omega 3 fatty acid consumption had a large effect on those with mild to moderate depression, when compared with a placebo.

These 4 studies join a growing body of research showing a strong connection between nutrition and mental health. Here at Truehope, we’ve been promoting nutrition as mental health treatment for over 20 years.

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