Is it true that eating fish acts as an antidepressant?
--Sally W., Tampa, Fla.
Dr. Small's answer:
Multiple studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids from foods like fish can stabilize mood and even diminish symptoms of depression. The antidepressant benefits have been observed in people with mild depressive symptoms, as well as those with clinical depression. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended dietary omega-3 fats for various mood symptoms.
It is interesting that in areas of the world where people consume a large amount of fish, rates of depression are lower than in regions where fish is rarely eaten. Most experts recommend at least two 6-ounce servings of fish each week, which also may have a positive effect on memory and general brain health.
Because of concerns about the mercury content, particularly in large predatory fish such as shark or swordfish, experts often discourage people from consuming fish more frequently.
People who don’t like fish or want more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet can get them from mercury-free supplements, flaxseed, or walnuts.
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