by Pierre S. Aoukar, MD and Hratch L. Karamanoukian, MD
Posted: March 7
Twenty years ago there may have been some controversy as to whether fish directly benefit the heart. Today, the evidence is almost overwhelmingly on the side of fish. It appears that certain fatty acids in fish, omega-3 fatty acids to be exact, confer this cardio-protective effect on the heart. They do so in several ways. Omega-3s can lower blood pressure and reduce the amount of triglycerides in your blood. Triglycerides are the stored form of fat in our bodies and can cause serious damage when high quantities circulate in our blood. Omega-3s also thin the blood by inhibiting platelet aggregation and they are anti-inflammatory. All these factors make having a heart attack less likely by reducing your chances of forming a clot in your coronary arteries.
Two recent studies from Harvard support this theory. One study found the higher the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in your blood, the lower your risk of sudden death from heart attack, even without a prior history of heart disease. The other study showed a decreased risk of heart disease with increased frequency of fish consumption. Women who ate fish 2 to 4 times a week decreased their risk by 30%. The best sources of omega-3s are fatty cold-water fish such as mackerel, Atlantic salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna and herring. Other fish still contain considerable amounts of omega-3s, but are not as rich in quantity. Fish are also an excellent source of lean protein. If you can not palate the taste of fish, fish oil capsules are also available. See your physician before you begin taking them. Whatever the case may be with fish, if they donít benefit you, they certainly can not do you harm, as long as you forget about the dill cream sauce.
Fish, Excerpt from the book: Everything Good For The Heart: The A to Z Guide, Aoukar PS and Karamanoukian HL. Magalhaes Scientific Press