THE BLOG

Eat Fish and Keep Your Mood Afloat

04/10/2013 10:21 am ET | Updated Jun 10, 2013

By Jan Bruce, CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium

There's a very good reason to eat fish two times this week, and it's not just because it's a healthy, lean protein that's lower in calories and saturated fats than other meats. Fatty, cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel also offer a potent dose of heart-healthy omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can affect your mood and behavior.

Researchers from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine looked at 106 healthy volunteers. According to Science Daily, researchers found that "participants who had lower blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were more likely to report mild or moderate symptoms of depression, a more negative outlook and be more impulsive. Conversely, those with higher blood levels of omega-3s were found to be more agreeable." (Here's a study synopsis.)

Some ideas for getting more fish into your diet:

  • Prepare some wild salmon for dinner, and save some to serve chilled over a salad the next day.
  • Purchase sustainable fish that you can use for lunches and quick meals. One of our faves is Wild Planet Foods, whose mission it is to provide the healthiest fish while supporting the conservation of marine ecosystems.
  • Try anchovies in your pasta or sardines over brown rice for lunch or dinner, or toss some shrimp into a stir-fry.
  • Widen your net. Eating a wide variety of fish can help reduce risk of exposure to environmental contaminants, as can eating smaller fish. (Think anchovies versus swordfish, which has a higher concentration of mercury.) Try some you haven't before, like herring or smoked trout or kippers, which are available at most supermarkets. Check out US News's report on the healthiest and most eco-friendly fish. Head to open waters and try something you've never eaten -- a different fish, a new recipe. Eating Well has a few great ones to check out.

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Jan Bruce is CEO and co-founder of meQuilibrium, www.mequilibrium.com, the new digital coaching system for stress, which helps both individuals and corporations achieve measurable results in stress management and wellness.

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