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Sep 12, 2015 02:48 AM EDT

Fish-Rich Diet Could Help Ward Off Depression

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New research suggests that eating fish could boost one's mood, HealthDay reported.

Chinese researchers found that people who eat a lot of fish have a 17 percent lower risk of depression than people in the study that ate the least amount of fish.

"Studies we reviewed indicated that high fish consumption can reduce the incidence of depression, which may indicate a potential causal relationship between fish consumption and depression," Fang Li, lead researcher of the study, told HealthDay.

For the study, researchers reviewed 28 studies which involved a total of 150,278 people. They used this information to examine the relationship between depression and the consumption of fish, Live Science reported.

In women, researchers found a modest association between eating a lot of fish and lowered depression risk by 16 percent. Men had a slightly stronger association at 20 percent.

Despite the correlation, a cause-and-effect relationship could not be established between fish consumption and depression risk.

Previous studies have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish "could alter the structure of brain cell membranes. It could also be that other fatty acids in fish modify the activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are thought to be involved in depression," Live Science reported.

"High fish consumption may also be related to a healthier diet and better nutritional status, which could contribute to the lower risk of depression," Li told Live Science.

The findings are detailed in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

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