Most people know that eating a diet of fish is great for their body, especially the heart, eyes, joints, and brain development. But did you know that fish can be beneficial for your emotional health as well as your physical health too? Let’s take a closer look at the mental and emotional benefits that can come with eating a couple of servings a week of fish.
What is it about the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish that are so great for our physical and mental health? To start with, there are two crucial fatty acids with major health benefits that are found in fish. These are EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) and DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA). These Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty layers of cold-water fish and shellfish. They are also found in plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, algae oils, and fortified foods.
Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases including: cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to these physical ailments that can be alleviated with the addition of Omega-3s to a diet, these acids can also health with issues affecting our mental health.
Anxiety and Depression Relief
Depression is a common mental condition that impacts millions of Americans. It’s characterized by low mood, sadness, decreased energy, and loss of interest in life and activities. Anxiety is the general feeling of fear of what is to come. These two mental health issues have been recognized as two of the most common mental issues facing our nation today. According to estimates by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America approximately 18% of Americans have anxiety.
For many that struggle with anxiety and depression, prescription medicines only help so much. If consumption of omega-3s commonly found in fish can alleviate any symptoms, most are willing to make the dietary changes that could help.
Mental Health America(MHA), reports that while studies seem to be split on the exact link and causation 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.”
The MHA goes on to report that studies have shown promising evidence for Omega-3s in the treatment of depression. They also state that Omega-3s may have a mood stabilizing effect and could help with short-term symptoms of bipolar disorder. These fatty acids may also be used as an adjunct to psychotropic medications, particularly antidepressants.
For further information about studies linked to health benefits from Omega-3s check out some of these resources.