According to researchers from China’s Qingdao University, eating a daily portion of fish could prevent depression.
The researchers pooled data from studies carried out between 2001 and 2014 to analyse the evidence of a link between diet and depression.
They found that a diet high in fish lowers the risk of becoming depressed by up to 20 per cent. In European studies it was found that between those eating the most and least fish there was a 17 per cent reduction in depression risk. The association was found to be stronger in men.
Previous research suggests that omega 3, which is abundant in fish, can increase the brain’s production of dopamine and serotonin, which are commonly associated with happiness.
The study’s lead author, Professor Dongfeng Zhang, says more work is required.
‘Higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression. Future studies are needed to further investigate whether this association varies according to the type of fish.
‘Many studies have investigated the associations between food consumption and depression risk. Furthermore, a meta-analysis published recently indicated that a healthy dietary pattern, characterised by a high intake of fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, was significantly associated with a reduced risk of depression.
‘However, it is not yet clear which component of the dietary pattern would be responsible for the protective effect.’
The study’s authors believe that as well as the innate heath benefits of eating fish, doing so may be an indicator of a healthy diet. This means that other factors could be involved which account for the reduced risk of depression.