We all seem to know the physical benefits of eating a diet rich with the omega 3s known to be in fish. Omega-3 essential fatty acids (omega-3), most commonly associated with fish and fish oil, have been widely studied for their benefits for heart health and mental health, as well. Did you know that it can also aid in the symptoms of anxiety and depression? This is amazing news for both our minds and our bodies! Let’s take a closer look at the mental health benefits of fish and those omega-3 fatty acids.
Mental Health America reports that, “The prevalence of depression in a society is inversely related to that society’s consumption of fish: the more that people eat fish, the healthier the population, both physically and mentally.” There is promising evidence for omega-3s in the treatment of depression. More specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may be highly effective in preventing and managing depression and cognitive decline, according to a growing body of evidence. In fact, 5 of 8 of the most recent studies on depression recommend increasing fish in the diet of those impacted by the disease. A large Norwegian study of nearly 22,000 participants revealed that those who regularly took cod liver oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, were about 30% less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who did not. The longer the participants took cod liver oil, the less likely they were to have high levels of depression. Eating fish a few times a week may provide your body with these healthy oils. Examples of fish high in omega-3s include sardines, salmon, herring, trout and canned white (albacore) tuna.
Psychology Today also reports that anxiety may also be lessened or at least somewhat alleviated by eating a diet high in those fantastic omega 3 fatty acids! While the data for anxiety disorders is less robust than the results for depression, there have been connections to people with lower omega-3 plasma levels who may suffer from social anxiety and general anxiety disorders. Mental health disorders affect approximately 57.7 million adults in the U.S. every year. Talk to your health professional about how the omega 3s in fish could help you with symptoms of depression and anxiety.