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Millions of people around the world struggle with loneliness, depression, and mental illness. Eating a healthy and varied diet is one of the easiest ways to maintain good health.
Many countries advise eating seafood at least two or three times a week. Seafood is not only delicious, but it is also a good source of important nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iodine and selenium all provide numerous health benefits, both for our physical and mental health.
“A varied diet should include nutrients that can promote disease prevention and better mental health. Research shows that there is a connection between low intake of seafood, as well as fruit and vegetables, and the occurrence of mental disorders”, says Lerøy’s nutritional scientist Silje Steinsund.
Even though pregnant and breastfeeding women are also recommended to eat seafood 2-3 times a week, it turns out that more of these women stop eating seafood. One reason for this may be uncertainty about what may be harmful to the foetus.
It is true that you should avoid eating certain types of fish due to their mercury content, which can harm the foetus, such as swordfish. However, as a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, it can be reassuring to know that you can eat all of Lerøy’s products, as long as you avoid seafood with an advisory against eating when pregnant or breastfeeding. Even after the baby is born, it is important to eat seafood.
“Omega-3 is especially important during pregnancy and for a period afterwards to build up the brain, so if the omega-3 supply from the mother is low, this can possibly contribute to postpartum depression”, says Steinsund.
Lerøy has taken part in a research project named Fish Intervention Studies. The aim of the research project was, among other things, to investigate whether lean and fatty fish could improve humans’ mental health. As part of the research project, 1,036 pregnant women were followed until their child was 18 months old. It turned out that the pregnant women had a lower intake of seafood than recommended. In addition, about 80% had a moderate to mild iodine deficiency. Iodine deficiency can cause the foetus serious, permanent damage, such as developmental disorders in the brain and the rest of the nervous system.
“This is worrying. Eating white fish weekly can help ensure sufficient iodine intake in these groups”, says researcher and clinical nutritionist Caroline Jensen.
Mild to moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy may also be linked to reduced cognitive development and greater behavioural problems in the child, shows MoBa, the Norwegian Mother, Father and Child Cohort Study. This manifests itself in poor verbal language skills and spelling, and may also be associated with reading and writing difficulties.
“Fish with a higher fat content also contains high vitamin D levels, and some studies have shown that vitamin D status is positively associated with sleep quality”, says Jensen.
Children who ate fish for lunch did better in cognitive tests in kindergartens. This was the finding of a survey of 13 kindergartens, in which 232 children participated. The children, who were between 4 and 6 years old, were either served fish or meat for lunch three days a week.
The more fish the children ate, the better they scored in the cognitive tests, which tested linguistic abilities, memory, speed, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to interpret various geometric shapes. Researchers linked some of the improvement to DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid.
As part of a research project at a prison in the United States, inmates were given Norwegian fish three times a week. The results showed, among other things, that these inmates had better impulse control and less anxiety than those who had not eaten salmon.
Another study published by Cambridge University concluded that there is a significant correlation between fish intake and higher self-reported mental health. This means people felt in better mental health after eating fish. The researchers therefore concluded that polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3, can act as mood stabilizers.
Some studies point to a connection between eating fatty fish, as well as a lot of vegetables, and a lower probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Among people with an already elevated risk of Alzheimer’s, another study shows that at least one seafood meal a week protects the brain against the disease.
The decline in seafood consumption is probably due to several reasons. Many people associate fish dinners with food they were forced to eat as children. Food one had to eat because it was healthy, but not necessarily tasty. Other reasons may include a lack of time. But making healthy and delicious seafood does not have to take long. Most of Lerøy’s recipes are made to fit in with people’s busy lives and time pressures, but not at the detriment to taste.
We have collected a number of healthy, tasty and simple recipes you can find here