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Fishing for Heart Health

A new long-term study has reinforced the health benefits of eating fatty fish, especially for women. Research on fish intake had already confirmed that consumption in men protected against heart disease, but the latest study shows that these benefits extend to women as well.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, followed a group of nearly 85,000 nurses over 16 years. This study was part of the ongoing Nurses' Health Study, which began in 1976. The results showed that women who consumed fish five times a week had a 45 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than women who seldom ate fish (less than once a month). Those who ate fish two to four times per week had a 31 percent decreased risk of nonfatal heart attacks.

The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish, or 7 grams of omega-3 oils each week.

Fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, herring, trout, whitefish, mackerel, swordfish and canned tuna.

Though fish oils are available in supplement form, researchers urge that no definitive studies have been done to prove that the effects of supplements mirror the benefits of eating fish. Just one more reason to dive into that plate of sushi or grilled salmon!


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