Eat fish twice a week for a healthy heart

By June Shannon Nutrition News   |   22nd May 2018

New expert advice recommends eating fish twice a week to help prevent heart disease

Tuesday 22 May 2018

By June Shannon

Eating fish, particularly oily fish, twice a week will help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. This is the key message from a new scientific advisory issued last week by the American Heart Association.

In the advisory the Association recommended eating fish- especially those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids twice a week to help reduce the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest and the most common type of stroke (ischaemic).

The Association advises eating two 3.5-ounce servings of non-fried fish, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish every week. It stated that emphasis should be placed on eating oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines or albacore tuna, which are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Since the last advisory on eating fish was issued by the Association in 2002, scientific studies have further established the beneficial effects of eating seafood rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, especially when it replaces less healthy foods such as meats that are high in artery-clogging saturated fat,” said Eric B. Rimm, Sc.D., Chair of the American Heart Association writing group and Professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

"Omega 3 fat found in oily fish can help your heart to keep a healthy rhythm and prevent clots,"

Sarah Noone, Dietitian , Irish Heart Foundation

Commenting on the new advice Sarah Noone, expert dietitian with the Irish Heart Foundation said it added to the evidence that people should aim to eat at least two portions of fish per week, including at least one portion of oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, fresh tuna and sardines for heart health.

“Fish forms a valuable part of a healthy, balanced diet and oily fish is an excellent source of omega 3. As few other foods contain omega 3 fats, fish is one of the best sources. Omega 3 fat found in oily fish can help your heart to keep a healthy rhythm and prevent clots. It also helps to lower a type of fat in your blood called triglycerides which increase the risk of heart disease and stroke,” she explained

However, Sarah added that despite all the heart health benefits of fish most people do not meet the recommendations. Therefore, she said it was important to think about how we can get fish into our diets

“Whether its tuna on a sandwich, prawns in a salad, salmon flaked through a pasta dish, making a point to order fish when we’re out, adding tinned fish such as mackerel, salmon or tuna to sandwiches, salads or mixing them with mash potatoes for fishcakes or even trying fish for breakfast,” Sarah suggested.

The advisory is published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.



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