Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prepared Properly, Fish Might Be Even Healthier For Women's Hearts

Eat more fish, eat less meat. That's probably one of the most common pieces of dietary advice that we hear on a daily basis. Fish is great for heart health, but it turns out that it's not just the type of fish that matters, it's also the way it's prepared which confers health benefits to its consumer. More still - not all methods of preparing fish offer equal health benefits; some are better than others for heart health in women, according to new research.

Published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, the study found that women who consumed five or more servings of baked or broiled fish per week had a 30% lower risk of developing heart failure than those who had less than one per month. In addition, eating darker fish such as salmon, mackerel and bluefish was associated with a lower risk of heart failure compared with white fish such as sole, snapper or cod.

The study also found that eating more fried fish is associated with a greater risk of heart failure in addition to previous findings that it is associated with an increased risk of strokes. Just one serving per week was associated with a 48% increased risk of heart failure.

According to Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a preventive cardiologist and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago, who was the study's senior authors, "A direct relationship between fish and heart failure is not necessarily intuitive because you might expect it protects against heart attacks,...But that's not the mechanism in place here"

Interestingly, there was no association between omega-3's and heart failure - the health benefits had something else to do with the fish itself or the way it was prepared. The researchers are still not sure what the exact mechanism is, but they suggest that women, especially those who are post-menopausal, take note.

According to Lloyd-Jones, "We may not know the other components . . . but that's why eating fish is better than taking a supplement," he said. "You really need to eat the food. This is clearly an important part of a healthy dietary eating pattern."