(NaturalNews) Teenage boys who eat fish regularly score higher on intelligence tests than those who eat fish less often, according to a study conducted by researchers from Goteborg University in Sweden and published in the journal Ars Pediatrica.
"A number of studies have already shown that fish can help neurodevelopment in infants, reduce the risk of impaired cognitive function from middle age onwards and benefit babies born to women who ate fish during pregnancy" researcher Kjell Toren said. "However, we believe that this is the first large-scale study to explore the effect on adolescents."
Researchers collected detailed dietary questionnaires from 4,792 15-year old boys, then compared this information with intelligence scores from tests that all the participants took three years later, upon registering with the Swedish military.
On average, those who ate fish once per week had combined intelligence scores 7 percent higher than those who ate fish less than once a week, while those who ate fish twice or more a week scored 12 percent higher. Those in the once-a-week group also scored 7 percent higher on visuospatial intelligence and 4 percent higher on verbal intelligence, while those who ate fish more than once a week scored 11 percent and 9 percent higher, respectively.
The average increase in all scores was 6 percent for those who ate fish once a week and 11 percent for those who ate it more frequently.
According to lead researcher Maria Aberg, the current study is particularly important because it focuses on the effect of fish consumption during adolescence, when the brain is developing much of its plasticity, or its ability to adapt to everything from new experiences to injuries.
While it may be too early to make specific dietary recommendations, she said, "for the time being it appears that including fish in a diet can make a valuable contribution to cognitive performance in male teenagers."