Fatty fish, but not lean fish, could benefit your heart health

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Scientists from Federico II University of Naples and elsewhere found that fatty fish could benefit your heart health, but not lean fish.

Fish intake is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. This is partly due to the high content of long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFAs.

Long-chain (LC) n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are nutrients involved in many metabolic and physiological processes.

However, not all fish types are equally rich in these nutrients.

To date, it is not clear whether fatty and lean fish share the beneficial effects of fish intake.

In the current study, researchers aimed to review the findings regarding the relationship between the intake of fatty fish or lean fish and the risk of heart disease events and death.

They conducted a systematic search for fully published studies with a prospective design involving humans providing data for the highest compared with the lowest fish intake.

A total of 19 research articles were included in the review.

Altogether, studies on fatty fish comprised 1,320,596 person-years of follow-up, 20,531 coronary heart disease cases, 9256 cardiovascular disease cases, and 104,763 total deaths.

Studies on lean fish comprised 937,362 person-years of follow-up, 21,636 incident coronary heart disease cases, 7315 incident cardiovascular disease cases, and 16,831 total deaths.

The researchers found fatty fish intake was linked to lower risks of coronary heart disease, heart disease death, and all-cause death.

But this was not the case for lean fish. The summary estimates for heart disease incidence and death did not show a strong association with lean fish intake.

Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that the heart health benefits so far linked to fish intake are, in fact, driven by fatty fish.

The research was published in Advances in Nutrition and conducted by Annalisa Giosuè et al.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about plant nutrients that could help reduce high blood pressure, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

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