Diet and Nutrition

Can Fatty Fish Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease?

Can Fatty Fish Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease?

A recent study has shown that young women may benefit by having fatty fish, as it provides protection against heart disease and stroke. According to researcher Marin Strom, PhD, Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark, even a modest intake of fishes that provide omega-3 fatty acids provide protection against the diseases. This is encouraging for people who struggle to take in the recommended levels of fish, adds Strom.             

Most of the earlier studies on omega-3 fatty acids and the lowered risk of heart disease were conducted on men. Women included in the studies were older and younger women of the childbearing age were not generally a part of such studies. The researchers collected the dietary data from 49,000 women from the Danish National Birth Cohort of the Danish National Patients Registry. The participants had an average age of 30-years-old. The results of the study are published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

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The researchers compared the dietary intake of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, cod and herring, with the risk of being hospitalization due to condition like heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure during the eight-year follow up period. Women who ate little or no fish had 50% more risk of hospitalization due to heart diseases, stroke or high blood pressure when compared to those who had more fatty fish.

Earlier studies had shown that people who do not eat fish had more chances of having risk factors such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle that causes heart diseases and stroke. Strom and colleagues had taken into consideration all the other risk factors into the study and still the results showed a significant association between intake of fatty fishes and reduced risk of heart diseases and stroke.

If you cannot tolerate eating fish, they may benefit by having omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, says Strom. The advantage of taking fish is that it provides other nutrients like selenium and thus having fish is much better than taking supplements, she adds.

JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, remarks that omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of heart diseases and stroke by reducing inflammation, triglycerides, blood clotting and irregular heart rhythms. Most of the heart-related diseases in young women are due to increased clotting, notes Manson.