Eating fish twice a week reduces the risk of depression in women by 25 percent. This is the conclusion of a study by the Menzies Research Institute.
The team followed more than 1,400 men and women aged 26 to 36 for five years. The participants kept track of what they ate, including which types of fish. Data on their mental health were also kept. Even after correction for other factors such as smoking, weight, exercise, alcohol consumption, level of education and occupation, there appeared to be a connection between eating fish and depression.
Women who ate fish once a week were found to have 6 percent less risk of depression. Women who put fish on the menu twice a week had a 25 percent lower risk of depression. In men, no link was found between fish consumption and depressive symptoms.
Why fish has this effect on women, but not on men, the scientists don’t know yet. Possibly the omega-3 fatty acids in fish in combination with the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone ensure that the female brain functions well. It is possible that men already get more omega-3 fatty acids from other sources, for example from meat. The results of the study appeared in the American Journal of Epidemiology.