- Oily fish is increasingly missing from the diets of young
people - and a leading nutritionist says this could harm their mental health.
The rates of mental illness and depression are increasing globally.
- There is evidence that a chemical, Omega-3, found particularly
in oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines has some effect
on brain development.
- And some believe that removing it from the diet could
be partly contributing to the rise in mental problems.
- Professor Michael Crawford, director of the Institute
of Brain Chemistry and Human Nutrition at North London University, said:
"We need to get back to feeding our minds as well as our bodies, otherwise
the future of the nation is grim.
- "We should all be eating oily fish at least once
- An NOP poll showed a particular decrease in fish consumption
among the young.
- Fish free
- Three-quarters of 15 to 24-year-olds in the UK eat oily
fish less than once a week.
- Looking at all ages, almost a quarter never eat oily
- The average amount of fish eaten per person per week
in the UK is thought to have halved over the past five decades.
- Professor Crawford said: "A diet of fish containing
Omega-3 was essential for the necessary cerebral expansion which transformed
our predecessors into homo sapiens.
- "Brain capacity expanded rapidly in our prehistoric
ancestors living in east Africa near large freshwater lakes.
- "Medical experts have long known of the benefits
of oily fish in the fight against heart disease, but it is just as vital
as brain food."
- The National Institute of Medical Health in the US is
currently sponsoring a study to examine the effectiveness of Omega-3 in
treating a mental illness called bipolar disorder.
- In the UK, attempted suicide has shown a sharp increase
over the last decade.
- Vegans and vegetarians get their Omega-3 from other sources,
such as nuts and certain oils.
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