New Delhi: Emphasizing the health benefits of fish consumption in children, a study has suggested that doing so once a week results in better sleep and improved IQ scores.
The study, carried out by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, suggested that instead of imploring their kids to go to bed, parents should simply consider changing their diets.
While omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have previously been shown to improve intelligence and sleep which in turn improves IQ, this is the first time all three have been linked together.
The scientists believe that it may be that the improved sleep brought on by omega-3 which helps boost IQ rather than the fatty acids themselves.
For the study, researchers asked 541 school children aged between nine and 11 to fill in surveys about how much fish they ate, and then measure their IQ. Their parents were then asked about the quality of sleep.
The team, found that children who reported eating fish weekly scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ exams than those who said they seldom or never consumed fish. Those whose meals sometimes included fish scored 3.3 points higher.
In addition, increased fish consumption was associated with fewer disturbances of sleep, which the researchers say indicates better overall sleep quality.
The new study reveals sleep as a possible mediating pathway – the potential missing link between fish and intelligence, the researchers said.
“Lack of sleep is associated with antisocial behaviour, poor cognition is associated with antisocial behaviour,” said Adrian Raine, Professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
“We have found that omega-3 supplements reduce antisocial behaviour, so it’s not too surprising that fish is behind this.”
The study “adds to the growing body of evidence showing that fish consumption has really positive health benefits and should be something more heavily advertised and promoted”, said Jennifer Pinto-Martin, Professor at the varsity.
(With IANS inputs)