Does you teen's diet include lots of omega-3 fatty acids?  If not, it may be contributing to her anxiety.  What's worse, new research has found that the effect is cumulative over generations. So if your diet was lacking in omega-3's it may affect your teen as well.

Omega-3's are fatty acids that have been associated with both lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.  They are also thought to help reduce inflammation throughout the body.  This latest study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, examined teens and their diets and found that teens whose diets lacked these essential fatty acids were more likely to experience anxiety.  Researchers also looked at the "second-generation" effect of omega-3 deficiency and found that parents whose diets lacked omega-3's as teens were also more likely to be anxious.  

“We found that this dietary deficiency can compromise the behavioral health of adolescents, not only because their diet is deficient but because their parents’ diet was deficient as well," said Bita Moghaddam, professor of neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh and a lead author of the study.

So where are omega-3's found - and how can you be sure that your teen is eating enough?  Fish such as herring, anchovies, mackerel, salmon, and tuna are good sources of omega-3's.  As are walnuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, spinach, chia seeds, broccoli, and cauliflower.

There's not much you can do to change the food you ate as a teenager, but that doesn't mean they can blame you for their bad moods forever.  Teens can still amp up the omega-3's in their own diet to help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Hat tip: Futurity

The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.