Scientists from McMaster University and elsewhere found that eating oily fish regularly can help prevent heart disease in high-risk people, such as those who have vascular disease.
The research was published in JAMA Internal Medicine and was conducted by Andrew Mente et al.
Omega-3s are nutrients you get from food (or supplements) that help build and maintain a healthy body. They’re key to the structure of every cell wall you have.
They’re also an energy source and help keep your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and immune system working the way they should.
Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines), nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts), and plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil) are rich in omega-3.
Previous studies report inconsistent links between eating fish, a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, and risks of heart disease and death.
Whether the associations vary between people with and those without vascular disease is unknown.
In the current study, researchers aimed to solve the issue. They analyzed data from 147645 people (139 827 without heart disease and 7818 with heart disease) from 21 countries and 43,413 patients with vascular disease from 40 countries.
Vascular Disease affects the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients throughout your body and remove waste from your tissues.
Common vascular problems happen because plaque (made of fat and cholesterol) slows down or blocks blood flow inside your arteries or veins.
The team recorded fish eating in these people using food frequency questionnaires.
The researchers found that during 9 years of follow-up, compared with little or no fish intake (≤50 g/month), an intake of 350 g/week or more was not linked to the risk of major heart disease or death.
But in the patients with vascular disease, the risks of heart disease and death were lowest with intakes of at least 175 g/week (or approximately 2 servings/week) compared with 50 g/month or lower.
There was no further decrease in heart disease risk with consumption of 350 g/week or higher.
The team also found that fish with higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids were strongly linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
The link between fish intake and lower risks of heart disease and death was found among patients with vascular disease but not in general populations.
Based on these findings, the team concluded that a minimal fish intake of 175 g (approximately 2 servings) weekly is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and death in people with vascular disease.
The consumption of fish (especially oily fish) should be examined in clinical studies of these patients.
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