Depression and Oily Fish

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As a child, I remember my grandmother telling me that fish was 'brain food'.

Now, these old wives may have told a lot of tales, but there was more often than not, an element of fact within their stories.

This study in Norway looked at 22,000 people over the age of 40 and came to the conclusion that depression could be relieved or avoided by consuming the Omega 3s found in oily fish.

The 9 per cent of them who had a spoonful of cod liver oil a day, were 30 per cent less likely to be depressed.

Omega 3s have long been known to boost children's brains, reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers and protect eyesight and now here's another health benefit.

Oily fish contains Omega 3s and in this study about depression, the experts recommended 0.5g a day to have a positive effect.

You could take supplements if you prefer, but a better way, and one that will give the benefits to your whole family, is to incorporate oily fish in your diet.

The general guidelines are to eat one portion a week for overall health.

You would need to eat four portions a week to get 0.5g a day, which can sound a bit daunting if you rarely eat fish to begin with.

However, it can be done, quite easily, by using tinned fish for sandwich fillings, on toast or in a salad a couple of times a week, and then having fresh salmon, tuna or mackerel etc twice a week.

4 portions sounds like a lot - but it really isn't hard to do.

Have a canned salmon sandwich and a salad once a week, a jacket potato or salad with a can of mackerel and a fresh tuna steak - that's it - all you have to do for four portions a week - see the list below as to which fish are classed as 'oily' and note that canned tuna does not retain its Omega 3s in the canning process.

Your overall health would improve with the increased fish consumption.

Tinned fish is relatively cheap, so if you're on a budget, then canned oily fish should be part of your overall eating.

Tinned seafood is a very easy way of getting the health benefits of fish oils, but remember that only fresh tuna is classed as 'oily' the oils are destroyed with the canning process.

  • Mackerel
  • Kippers
  • Pilchards
  • Tuna (fresh or frozen, some canning processes removes omega-3)
  • Trout
  • Sprats
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Crab (fresh)
  • Whitebait
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Marlin

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