Researchers say that eating fish has yet another health benefit – it prevents depression from setting in. Just remember to eat a lot of it.
A group of researchers from Qingdao University came to this conclusion after examining 26 earlier studies, with a total of more than 150.270 subjects. The studies certainly offered variety as ten (10) of them took place in Europe, seven (7) of them took place in the United States, and the rest of them took place in Asia, South America and Oceania.
The goal of the researchers was to investigate the relationship between fish consumption and depression. The European studies were the only ones that indicated that people who eat a lot of fish decrease their chances of suffering from depression by 17 percent (17%), as opposed to people who eat little or no fish.
The authors wrote in their study that “Higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression”. They also believe that the studies conducted in the rest of the countries may not have pointed at this benefit as the numbers of subjects were much smaller, and “a smaller number of participants cannot reach statistical significance easily”.
When the research team looked at men and women separately, they noticed that men who eat a lot of fish decrease their chances of suffering from depression by 20 percent (20%), whereas women who eat a lot of fish only decrease their chances of suffering from depression by 16 percent (16%).
However it’s important to mention that the study Fang Li, field expert with Qingdao University (China), and his colleagues conducted was purely observational. They did not perform any test on their subjects. It is because of this that they can’t prove that a cause and effect link exists.
Another potential flaw of the study is that the researchers didn’t know what type on fish their subjects consumed. Li admitted that more research needs to be conducted to validate the finding and maybe reveal a pattern.
Having said all of this, there are a few reasons why fish may prevent depression from setting in. First off, fish are known for being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for altering brain cell membrane structures.
Another theory says that fish meat is also rich in other fatty acids that are known for modifying the activity of the serotonin neurotransmitter and the dopamine neurotransmitter. Both of these are believed to play a role in the onset of depression.
A third and final theory says that individuals who chose to eat a lot of fish may lead healthier lives overall – adopt better diets, go to the gym more often, so on.
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