It’s refreshing to know that fish is brain food for children boosting their intelligence and helping them sleep better, scientists say. They found that 9 to 11- year-olds that ate it at least once a week scored almost 5 points higher in IQ tests compared to those who seldom do.

Fish is considered an important part of a healthy diet, being both low in saturated fat and rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are also a good source of Omega-3, fatty acids essential for brain development and also thought to reduce inflammation of the brain, cardiovascular system and other cells.

In the study by US researchers, more than 500 children were asked about how often they had consumed fish in the past month. They then took part in an IQ test and children who ate fish at least once a week scored 4.8 points higher than those who never did. Even those whose meals sometimes included fish scored 3.3 points higher. Those who ate fish at least weekly also had fewer sleep disturbances and a better overall sleep quality than those with a lower intake.

The latest findings published in Scientific Reports revealed sleep as a possible ‘controlling pathway’ connecting fish and intelligence. Professor Adrian Raine of Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine said: ‘Lack of sleep is associated with anti-social behaviour – poor cognition is associated with anti-social behaviour. We have found omega 3 supplements reduce anti-social behaviour – so it’s not too surprising fish is behind it.’ And Professor Jennifer Pinto-Martin, executive director of Penn’s Centre for Public Health Initiatives, suggested children should be given fish from a young age.

I shall certainly encourage my granddaughter nearing the age of two to eat fish at least twice a week so that she grows up to be a highly intelligent young lady, which she is now. I can also be extremely proud of her, though of course that goes without saying.

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