A new study suggests that kids that eat more fish have better sleeping patterns and a better cognitive performance. Researchers study fish consumption patterns of 541 Chinese kids with ages between 9 and 11, and they consider the brain works better when there is a higher consumption of fish.

The study reveals that eating fish is associated with diverse things such as better sleep, and higher IQ.  The study controlled for sex, parental education, maternal age at childbirth, breastfeeding duration and other factors. They conclude that kids have to eat fish if they want to be healthy and achieve their academic goals.

fish consumption, kids, sleeping pattern, IQ, fatty acids, omega 3, Fish consumption and sleep patterns, Fish and IQ, Fish link to cognitive development
Kids who eat more fish have less sleeping problems. Image credit: Daily News

“Fish helps with sleep, and this results in higher IQ,” said the lead author, Jianghong Liu, a professor in the school of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. “If parents want their kids to be healthy and high performing in school, they should put fish on the table.”

Why is fish so good for the brain?

To carry out the study, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania collected information on fish consumption among 541 Chinese boys and girls. They used questionnaires to know about the children’s sleep duration, how often they awoke at night, daytime sleepiness and other sleep patterns.

At age 12, they all took IQ tests. The options ranged from often (consumption of fish at least once a week), to occasionally (2-3 times per month), to seldom or never (less than two times per month).

The results showed that the kids that ate fish twice a week or more had 4.8 points more on the IQ tests if compared to the one-quarter of children that only ate fish twice a month or less. They test examined verbal and non-verbal skills.

As they ate more fish their sleeping problems reduced, which produced a chain reaction because better sleep is associated with an improved cognitive performance.

The research makes a link between the omega 3s (fatty acids found in most fish) and better sleep and intelligence.

“This area of research is not well-developed. It’s emerging,” said Jianghong Liu, lead author of the paper.

fish consumption, kids, sleeping pattern, IQ, fatty acids, omega 3, Fish consumption and sleep patterns, Fish and IQ, Fish link to cognitive development
Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Image credit: Men’s Fitness

Fish has a lot of benefits for the brain and the heart

Fish is known to be a very healthy source of energy and proteins. Omega 3 has been associated with better heart health and reduced depression risks. In general, fish is also known to provide anti-inflammatory action.

However, with this study, there is another reason to eat more fish. These findings are significant and they are useful to promote healthy eating habits for kids. Tough the study recognizes that more research is needed to understand better the mechanisms through which the fatty acids of the fish contribute to neurodevelopment and the improvement of the cognitive function. Researchers must continue to analyses on what type of fish offer more benefits to the brain.

The study findings were published in Scientific Reports.

Source: Daily News