A high intake of fish is frequently regarded as being part of a healthy diet. Now, researchers suggest that eating a large amount of fish could also reduce the risk of depression.
Depression affects an estimated 350 million people worldwide, making it the world's leading cause of disability. Unfortunately, current treatments for the condition are considered to be inadequate due to poor follow-through and numerous potential side effects.
Depression is likely caused by a combination of genetic, psychological, biological and environmental factors. Researchers are now looking at lowering the risk of depression by altering lifestyle factors, such as diet.
A number of recent studies have associated health benefits from consuming fish, including one study which found that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil could reduce the risk of psychosis and another which suggested collagen from tilapia fish could help wounds heal faster.
Results from the research conducted in Europe show a significant association between high consumption of fish and an average of 17 percent reduced risk of depression compared with the lowest levels of fish consumption.
Despite the association between fish consumption and lower depression being confined to the study conducted in Europe, researchers believe there could be a biological explanation for this linkage.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil could change the structure of brain membranes and alter levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body - two neurotransmitters that are believed to play a role in depression. In addition, high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals found in fish may have a protective effect on depression.