The first large study to examine fish consumption among young women has shown that even moderate intake of fish, just once a week, can be helpful for the Heart. The findings are important for a number of reasons, says lead author Dr Marin Ström (Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark), who reports the results together with colleagues online December 5, 2011 in Hypertension.
First of all, they illustrate that the benefits of a healthy lifestyle can be obtained at a relatively young age. “We saw quite strong associations with cardiovascular diseases occurring in the study participants when they were in their late 30s,” Ström told heartwire . “The biggest challenge in getting health messages like this across to younger populations is that usually the benefits may not be evident for 30 or 40 years, but our study shows that this is not the case.” By demonstrating that the benefits of eating fish are immediate, she and her colleagues believe it will be easier to convince people to make healthy choices.”This is one of the things that makes our study stand out from most of the previous work in the field,” she observes.
The research is also among the first to be conducted in women of childbearing age and examines primary prevention, she says. Most prior studies of this nature have been conducted in men, in the context of secondary prevention after a cardiovascular event. Studying women separately is important, Ström says, because there is evidence that certain risk factors that can be influenced by fish consumption, such as triglyceride levels, “may have a more negative influence on cardiovascular risk in women than in men.”
The women in this study mainly ate cod, plaice, salmon, herring, and mackerel, says Ström.
The results, she says, are in line with previous observational studies based on older women that suggest that the potential heart benefits of fish can be obtained with relatively moderate intake of even just a couple of times a month.
However, she stresses that to obtain the greatest gain from fish, it should be consumed as a main meal at least twice a week.
Lisa Nainggolan, for original article, click here.
J. Kyle Mathews, MD
Plano OB Gyn Associates
Plano Urogynecology Associates