Fish might be the last food you want to give your kids, especially if they’re picky eaters. But according to a new study, you might want to start doing exactly that — and making a habit out of it, for good measure.
According to new findings published in Scientific Reports, weekly fish consumption is linked to a higher IQ and better sleep in kids. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania studied 541 children in China, ranging in age from 9 to 11. They completed a questionnaire about how often they ate fish, while their parents reported on their sleep quality. The kids then took the Chinese version of an IQ test. Sure enough, the children who ate fish at least once a week had an IQ score that was 4.8 points higher than the kids who “seldom” or “never” ate fish.
Now, researchers are wondering whether sleep could be a possible pathway between eating fish and improved intelligence.
“This area of research is not well-developed. It’s emerging,” said Jianghong Liu, lead author on the paper. “Here we look at omega-3s coming from our food instead of from supplements.”
Since it is such a new area of research, we can likely expect to see more studies delving deeper into this topic in the future. But for now, these researchers see strong implications about the potential of their findings thus far.
“It 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, another author of the study. “Children should be introduced to it early on.”
Well, there’s no better excuse to try something kid-friendly — like a fish sandwich or sweet teriyaki salmon dish — with your little ones now. You never know: They might love it and greatly benefit from it — and there’s no better meal for a kid than that!
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h/t Science Daily