Researchers continue to confirm the benefits that following a healthy diet can have on reducing consumers’ risk of heart disease. Now, a new study conducted by researchers from McMaster University has found that regularly eating fish can benefit consumers’ heart health.
According to their findings, those who are at the highest risk of heart disease -- including those who have had a heart attack or stroke -- could boost their heart health by eating two servings of fish per week.
“This is by far the most diverse study of fish intake and health outcomes in the world and the only one with sufficient numbers with representation from high-, middle-, and low-income countries from all inhabited continents of the world,” said researcher Dr. Salim Yusuf.
Benefits of eating more fish
To better understand the health benefits associated with eating more fish, the researchers analyzed data from four earlier studies that included information on nearly 192,000 participants from five continents. The team looked at the participants’ diets and compared that information with heart health outcomes for those at varying risks of heart disease.
Ultimately, the researchers found that regularly consuming fish had protective benefits for those at the highest risk of heart disease. For participants that had previously had a heart attack or stroke, these benefits were the highest. Those with a lower risk of heart disease experienced much milder benefits associated with eating more fish, and those with no previous cardiovascular issues had no added heart health benefits from consuming more fish.
The researchers explained that fish containing higher amounts of omega-3s produced the best health outcomes. These oils have long been associated with improved heart outcomes, and getting those nutrients through fish can be incredibly beneficial for consumers with recurring heart concerns.
“There is a significant protective benefit of fish consumption in people with cardiovascular disease,” said researcher Andrew Mente. “This study has important implications for guidelines on fish intake globally. It indicates that increasing fish consumption and particularly oily fish in vascular patients may produce a modest cardiovascular benefit.”