Is fish on the menu tonight?


Eating fish is known to have many health benefits.  In this age of Covid-19 with the accompanying life stressors, it seems that children and adults may need to include more fish in their diets.

New research (published Monday, April 19 2021 in the journal Molecular Psychiatry) reveals that a high daily dose of omega-3 was shown to suppress damage and boost protection at a cellular level during and after a stressful event. This means that these valuable oils can help the body resist the damaging effects of stress.  Participants in the study were found to produce less of the stress hormone cortisol and lower levels of a pro-inflammatory protein during a stressful event (which was giving them a 20-minute speech and maths subtraction task).

The benefit to adults was clear and supports the existing studies that omega-3 oils can help with depression and accelerated aging brought on by repeated stress.  It can also be concluded that children can benefit equally, especially if they are exposed to stressful situations – as many of them are in current and on-going circumstances. Those who find learning difficult or who struggle with behavioural issues are particularly vulnerable to stress.

The research used high doses of an omega-3 supplement.  There are good omega-3 supplements available on the market but many of the best products are expensive.  As parents, we would be wise to introduce fish to our children at an early age and then make sure that our families eat a variety of oil-rich fish at least a few times a week.  Cold water, fatty fish are the best, and we are lucky in that we have a few varieties at hand, including hake, snoek and sardines.  

But do beware of how you cook the fish.  Coating them in a thick batter and frying portions in unhealthy oils is not the best option.  Try to leave the skin on (the oils tend to be close to the skin) and explore the options of baking, steaming and grilling.  Fish cakes might be enjoyed too.  There are many suggestions online of how to encourage children to eat fish so those might help you overcome resistance by any family members, no matter their age.


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