CBS Local — Parents looking to give their kids a boost in the classroom may want to choose fish for dinner. According to a new study, eating fish helped children sleep better and increased their IQ.

A study of 541 Chinese students between the ages of 9 and 11 found that children who ate fish at least twice a week scored nearly five points higher on IQ tests taken at age 12. The findings, published in Scientific Reports, conclude that eating fish results in a better sleep and less daytime drowsiness. The researchers added that better sleep patterns results in higher cognitive performance.

“If parents want their kids to be healthy and high performing in school, they should put fish on the table,” lead author Jianghong Liu of University of Pennsylvania said, via the New York Times.

Researchers believe some of the credit for mental boost belongs to the omega-3 fatty acids found in a wide variety of fish. Clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller tells CBS News that a high concentration of the acids are found in the brain and play an important role in neurological function. Heller adds that parents who are looking to feed their children more fish should select ones which have lower levels of mercury. The FDA says shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish all have lower levels of the neurotoxin in them.


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