How Linseed Oil Makes Children Tame

When children show conspicuously aggressive behavior, there can be a variety of reasons behind it. But under certain circumstances, even a small change in diet can lead to a significant change in behavior.

Is particularly aggressive behavior in children due to social factors or are there physical causes? “It’s both,” says Jill Portnoy. “Biology and the social environment interact in a complex way that we are only just beginning to understand.”

Portnoy and her team at the University of Massachusetts Lowell are researching the influence that certain diets can have on children’s behavior. In her current study, she dealt with omega-3 fatty acids – because these are important building blocks in the development of the brain, which consists of 97 percent fatty acids.

Daily Omega-3 Fatty Acids Make Kids More “Peaceful”

The US researchers gave children with behavioral problems either a fruit drink containing omega-3 fatty acids or the same drink without added omega-3 fatty acids every day. Neither the children and their parents nor the researchers knew which drink was given to which child.

After six months, parents or caregivers of children in the omega-3 group reported a significant decrease in aggressive behavior. This had an impact on family life as a whole: the parents also fought less often and behaved less aggressively.

Previous studies have already indicated that the daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids makes children more “peaceful”. A study published in 2016 was able to demonstrate a corresponding effect after just three months. However, this study also showed that the fatty acids have to be taken permanently to have a lasting effect: In this experiment, the children were only given them for six months – after which their original aggressive behavior returned.

How can you get omega-3 fatty acids from food?

Linseed oil is considered one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A tablespoon of linseed oil already contains significantly more omega-3 fatty acids than the fruit drink used in the study – and can be easily integrated into the daily menu: e.g. in salad dressings or muesli with quark and linseed oil.

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Written by Allison Turner

I am a Registered Dietitian with 7+ years of experience in supporting many facets of nutrition, including but not limited to nutrition communications, nutrition marketing, content creation, corporate wellness, clinical nutrition, food service, community nutrition, and food and beverage development. I provide relevant, on-trend, and science-based expertise on a wide range of nutrition topics such as nutrition content development, recipe development and analysis, new product launch execution, food and nutrition media relations, and serve as a nutrition expert on behalf of a brand.

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