Get happy, get oily, get a fish…

Want to beat the baby blues? Devour a herring – or two. And keep a six-pack of anchovies on hand for emotional emergencies.

According to a recent Associated Press report, a new British study shows that the conscientious ingestion of extra oily fish – such as herring, sardines, tuna or salmon – may keep new mothers and new-mothers-to-be from getting depressed.

Oily fish may even keep new moms from becoming irritated, annoyed or excessively forlorn, although the jury is still out as to exactly how much oily fish the average woman has to consume on a daily basis to keep an even keel.

God only knows why staid British scientists one day decided to start feeding out-of-sorts pregnant women large quantities of oily fish – or how many of them were severely pummelled for their efforts – but the initial results seem to equate emotional stability with regular doses of slippery seafood.

The key seems to be the omega-3 fatty acids found in the aforementioned ocean dwellers. The more of these fatty acids a pregnant woman consumes during her third trimester, researchers found, the less likely she’s going to become depressed.

And besides, everybody loves sardines, right?

Take it from me, amigos, this is only going to be the tip of the iceberg. If yummy bits of oily fish can be used to keep grins on the faces of mothers-to-be, those same well-lubricated tidbits can probably be used to keep all of us a little more happy-go-lucky.

Why complicate your life with pharmaceuticals and spend a small fortune on pricey prescriptions when you can motivate your sorry self down to the fish market and find inner peace with herring-on-a-stick?

Of course, oily fish researchers will first have to conduct in-depth studies to determine specific dosage criteria for different sexes, ages and levels of emotional stability.

A 23-year-old mother-to-be with a slight overbite, for example, might require a considerably larger dose of oily fish than, say, a 35-year-old amusement park clown with size 24 shoes and a squirting carnation.

(Whaddya mean ‘What?’ Some of us just know these things…)

The average middle-aged Republican golfer, on the other hand, will most likely require an intravenous herring drip simply to keep him from periodically gnawing on the fenders of parked cars.

And then there’s the perennial question that’s haunted piscatorial practitioners for decades: Are three sardines too few, six anchovies too many?

This is important, because overuse of any substance can quickly turn to abuse.

A little oily fish bliss is great – even for angst-ridden Republicans – but too much happiness can lead to dangerous levels of euphoric enslavement.

Anybody who’s ever stumbled across a grinning, semi-conscious derelict lying amid a pile of discarded herring tails knows what I’m talking about…

Originally published June 8, 2003