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Posted: December 27, 2017

Want better sleep and a higher IQ? Eat more fish, study says


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By Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A good night’s rest is essential to great health. Want to improve your sleep? Try eating more fish, a new report suggest.

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Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently conducted an experiment, published in Scientific Reports, to determine the link between the seafood and improved cognition among children.

To do so, they observed 541 children, aged 9 to 11, administering a survey that asked them how often they consumed the meat in the past month. The girls and boys then took a Chinese IQ test, and their parents were later questioned about their sleeping patterns. 

After analyzing the results, they found that children who ate fish at least once a week slept better and had higher IQ scores, compared to those who ate the food less frequently or not at all.

In fact, the subjects that ate fish weekly scored 4.8 points higher on the IQ exam than those who “seldom” or “never” consumed fish. And those who “sometimes” dined on fish racked up 3.3 more points than those who “seldom” or “never” had it.

Furthermore, those who gobbled fish down regularly had fewer disruptions in their sleep, which is associated with overall better sleep.

>> Related: The best fish for weight loss - and where to buy it in Atlanta

“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,” coauthor Jennifer Pinto-Martin said in a statement

While scientists did not specify the type of fish studied, they believe kids should begin munching on it as early as 10-months-old as long as there are no bones and the fish has been finely chopped. 

“Introducing the taste early makes it more palatable,” Pinto-Martin said. “It really has to be a concerted effort, especially in a culture where fish is not as commonly served or smelled.”

Analysts are now looking forward to further investigations that examine older people with hopes of yielding similar results. 

>> Related: The Mediterranean diet works - but not if you're poor, a study finds

“If the fish improves sleep, great,” she said. “If it also improves cognitive performance — like we’ve seen here — even better. It’s a double hit.”


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