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Can Fish Intake Help Improve Your Mood?

August 09, 2020

Nearly one-third of Americans are experiencing symptoms of depression now that the COVID pandemic has been an issue for as long as it has. Between experiencing loss of loved ones, loss of routine, loss of employment, or loss of a multitude of other things, the current climate has taken a toll on many people’s mental health.

There are many things that people can do to proactively take care of their mental health, the first being to speak with a health care provider. Exercise, social connection, and quality sleep are also wonderful ways to support mental fitness in a healthy way. Another step towards supporting one’s mental well-being is eating more fish. In fact, feelings of anxiety and stress can be eased by regular consumption of fish (1).

Those who regularly eat fish, specifically fatty fish like salmon, experience less depression vs. those who do not eat fish (2). Specifically, eating 8-12 ounces of fish per week (approximately 2-3 servings) reduces the risk for major depression according to data (3). In fact, the American Psychiatric Association endorsed the fats in fish as an effective part of depression treatment (4).

While fish is known for it’s healthy fatty acid content and protein component, it contains important vitamins and minerals that play a role in brain health and may help with mood balance. Some of these nutrients include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

The reason why these nutrients are important to focus on is because data suggests that those who experience depressive symptoms tend to have lower levels of these important vitamins and minerals.

When choosing a seafood choice, making sure that the salmon or tuna that you choose to feed yourself and your family are sourced safely and sustainably. Choosing to purchase fish from Greensbury Market ensures that your selections are hand-picked from the best local fisheries to deliver the highest quality sustainable and wild-caught seafood to your door. The fisheries used are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or marked sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. 

To give your fish dish a one-two punch of mood-boosting nutrients, try coating your fish with crushed walnuts. One study found that depression scores were 26% lower among those who consumed about 1/4 cup of walnuts per day (5). Adding walnuts to your fish dish is a delicious way to help take in important nutrients with little effort. Place your walnut fish over a bed of folate-rich spinach for even more support, as data suggests that people with depression have been found to have a lower dietary intake of folate compared to those without depression (6).

If your mental state is not what it used to be, your first step should be to speak with a health care professional. Once that has been tackled, including high-quality fish to your diet 2-3 times a week can be a simple addition to your lifestyle that may help support your mood in a healthy and safe way.

For a salmon recipe with a kick, check out this Cajun salmon for your next seafood dinner inspiration. You won’t be sorry.

 

Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian based in Charleston, South Carolina. She earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in human nutrition and is passionate about helping people achieve their nutrition goals. She currently acts as a consultant, food blogger, and freelance writer for outlets including Eating Well and POPSUGAR. When Lauren isn't working, she is enjoying the outdoor life with her daughter, husband, and rescue-pup.

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