There are lots of good reasons to include fish in your diet. The health benefits of some very important nutrients in fish — omega-3 fatty acids — have been proven countless times in studies performed all over the world. This healing food really doesn’t need any more endorsement — but here’s yet another reason to eat fish: it can boost levels of other key nutrients in your body.
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Researchers from the Child and Family Research Institute in British Columbia, Canada, recently studied fish intake. They noted that fish is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). And DHA is a proven protector of the brain and of neurological function. But here’s something you might not know about fish: it also contains choline and vitamin D.
For their study, the research team assessed whether women in the first half of pregnancy with low fish intake also had low blood concentrations of vitamin D, choline, and DHA. A total of 222 pregnant women were examined for dietary intake of fish, DHA, choline, and vitamin D.
The researchers found that women who consumed less than 75 grams of fish/week compared to more than 150 grams of fish/week had lower dietary intake of DHA, total choline, and vitamin D. They also found DHA intake was positively related to the intake of vitamin D from foods and total choline — suggesting these three nutrients are very much linked to one another. Boosting one tends to boost the other two and vice versa: if you don’t get enough DHA — from fish, let’s say — you’re not going have enough vitamin D or choline either.
Not familiar with choline? It’s a chemical that is similar to the B-vitamins and is usually lumped in with them. Choline performs a number of functions in your body. It helps in the building and maintenance of the structure of cell membranes, it protects your liver from accumulating fat, and it’s the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This is probably one of choline’s most important jobs: to help your brain grow and develop in early life and to keep it functioning properly as you age in later life.