To Your Health
March, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 03)
Fatty Fish Helps High-Risk Hearts
By Editorial Staff
Eating fish regularly, particularly fatty fish such as salmon, has profound heart benefits, suggests a large body of research. That's because fatty fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL is "good" cholesterol because it actually helps remove "bad" cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein – LDL) from the bloodstream. Lower triglycerides are another heart-healthy benefit of fatty fish consumption. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the bloodstream; too much of it, like "bad" cholesterol, can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease by inhibiting blood flow.
But what if you've already suffered a heart attack or stroke, or are at high risk to suffer one? Can eating fatty fish help? Yes, suggests a research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine. This analysis of several large, multinational studies concludes that based on the evidence, people at high risk for a cardiovascular event who eat at least two servings of omega-3-rich fish weekly reduce their risk of a heart attack or stroke by approximately one-sixth compared to non-fish eaters.
Keep in mind that fatty fish aren't the only type that contains omega-3 fatty acids; however, they generally contain much higher levels than non-fatty fish. Omega-3 supplements are also an option (note that they weren't the subject of this research review). Talk to your doctor for more information about the health benefits of omega-3s.