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Published On: Wed, May 23rd, 2018

Eating Fish Twice a Week May Lower Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke

A new report from the American Heart Association (AHA) says that eating two servings of oily fish per week can significantly lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, even if your diet isn’t especially healthy.

The report comes 16 years after the AHA recommended eating more fish for better heart health.

The AHA says adults should strive to eat two 3.5-ounce servings of non-fried fatty fish each week, which includes albacore tuna, salmon, lake trout, mackerel, sardines and herring.

Cold water fish such as tuna, mackerel, halibut, salmon, and sardines are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which help in protecting against dry eyes, age related macular degeneration and cataracts.
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Eating more than two servings per week provides no additional benefit, experts say.

The AHA stresses the importance of eating non-fried fish. Fried seafood does not provide the same benefits. In fact, people who ate fried fish once a week were 50% more likely to develop heart failure than those who did not eat fried seafood.

Much of the research related to omega-3 fatty acids has focused on their anti-inflammatory nature, which helps prevent the narrowing and hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart disease. Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids are also linked to lower triglyceride levels.

But over the last few decades, research has shown that omega-3s play a vital role in fostering cell communication.

The American Heart Association is the oldest and largest organization dedicated to fighting stroke and heart disease. The organization, ran by volunteers and founded in 1924, helped create the guidelines for ACLS online certification along with the European Resuscitation Council.

The organization’s most recent report highlights the importance of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA.

While the AHA recommends eating oily fish to get this important nutrient, there are plant sources of omega-3s, including flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. These foods are great sources of ALA, which is a pre-cursor to EPA. EPA is then converted to DHA.

The issue, experts say, is that only a small amount of ALA is converted.

In contrast, the AHA says eating 4-ounces of salmon each week would provide adults with their recommended daily dose of omega-3s, about 250mg.

The AHA’s recommendations do not differ from their previous advice given in 2002. But the new report cites more evidence to back up the claim that omega-3 fatty acids support heart health.

But the report also leaves many questions. Are fish oil supplements just as effective? Do farm-raised fish provide the same benefits? Are mercury levels a concern?

Recent research suggests that supplements aren’t as effective and farm-raised fish do not have the same levels of omega-3s as their wild counterparts.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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