The NHS recommends we include at least 2 portions of seafood per week in our diet with good reason. It’s not only our physical wellbeing, but our mental health that can benefit. This Mental Health Day, read on to discover why.
Seafood Provides A Buffet of Nutrition
Seafood contains a host of important nutrients that will aid good mental health. Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 plus nutrients such as Vitamins D and B12, iodine and selenium form a cocktail of goodness that promotes disease prevention. There is a proven connection between low intake of seafood and the occurrence of mental health disorders – a great reason to aim for 2 portions of seafood per week (one of which should be oily).
Seafood Can Help Keep Post Partum Depression at Bay
It’s a common misconception that seafood is not safe for pregnant women to consume. On the contrary, seafood provides essential nutrition that not only helps Mum’s health but the development of baby too. Pregnant women should be mindful of fish with high mercury levels such as swordfish, tuna or mackerel and consume in smaller quantities. Shellfish is also to be avoided unless cooked well (for risk of food poisoning). However, the Omega-3 fatty acids that seafood provides are important during pregnancy and immediately afterwards. Research has shown that low levels of Omega-3 can increase the likelihood of developing postpartum depression. It’s important to combat these odds by including the recommended 2 portions of seafood per week. For pregnant women, white fish such as haddock, cod or lemon sole is a great ‘safe’ choice that will provide much needed nutrition.
Seafood Gives You A Better Night's Sleep
It’s known that fish with higher fat content (oily fish such as salmon or mackerel for example), have a higher content of Vitamin D. Adults with a low intake of this vitamin take longer to fall asleep. Poor quality sleep can have a knock-on effect on mental health and worsen current conditions. Ensure you give yourself the best chance of sleep with upping your Vitamin D intake through oily seafood. The NHS recommends one of your 2 portions of seafood per week should be oily.
Use Seafood to Mend Your Mood
Seafood is a mood stabilizer. Or rather, the presence of a high quantity of Omega-3 in seafood will naturally improve one’s mood. It has been shown in studies there is a link between eating fish and a higher level of mental health – that those with a greater seafood intake in their diet reported feeling better after eating seafood. Put this research to the test by giving it a try!
Cook Your Catch to Feel Good
Cooking is a great way to improve mental health and feel better about yourself. The act of cooking your own food acts like therapy. It will give you a sense of achievement and help you connect with others, improve your confidence as you master a new skill and make you feel better through improved nutrition. Why not give it a go? We’ve got a great set of easy to follow cooking guides to get you started
Finally - You Are Not Alone!
Mental health is flexible and not fixed – it will dip and rise like a stormy sea. We do what we can to manage it but that can be difficult and if the sea becomes too rough at times we may capsize. Please reach out if you are struggling. There are a number of places you can find help and support when needed – you can find a list of useful services here.