Two servings of fish a week can help prevent recurrent heart disease
An analysis of several large-scale studies involving participants from more than 60 countries, conducted by researchers at McMaster University, found that regular consumption of fatty fish can help prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in people at high risk, such as those who already have heart disease.
The important ingredient refers to omega-3 fatty acids, which the researchers found to be associated with a lower risk of major cardiovascular events by about a sixth, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people at high risk who ate two servings of omega-3-rich fish a week.
“There is a significant protective benefit of fish consumption in people with cardiovascular disease,” said co-author Andrew Mente, an associate professor at McMaster and a senior researcher at the Institute for Population Health Research.
No benefit was observed regarding the consumption of fish in those without heart disease or stroke.
“This study has important implications for global fish consumption recommendations. This indicates that an increased consumption of fatty fish in patients with cardiovascular problems may produce a modest benefit.
Mente said people with a low risk for cardiovascular disease can still enjoy modest protection against CVD by consuming fish rich in omega-3, but the health benefits were less pronounced than those with a high risk.
The study was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on March 8.
The findings were based on data from nearly 192,000 people from four studies, including about 52,000 with CVD, and this is the only study conducted on all five continents. Previous studies have focused mainly on North America, Europe, China and Japan, with little information from other regions.
“This is by far the most diverse study in the world in terms of fish consumption and the only one with a sufficient number of representatives from high, middle and low-income countries in all inhabited continents of the world,” said study co-leader Dr Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and executive director of PHRI. We also mention that this analysis is based on data from several studies conducted by PHRI in the last 25 years.
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