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Eat Your Fish!!!

Published Online: Wednesday, May 1, 2002   [ Request Print ]

Fatty fish, like mackerel, salmon, and herring, are good for you. Just how good was made clear in 3 separate studies published in April 2002.

First, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who ate fish 5 times a week had a 45% lower risk of dying from heart disease than did women who rarely ate fish. For those who ate fish 2 to 4 times a week, there was a 31% lower risk of nonfatal heart attacks. Conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, this study followed almost 85,000 nurses for 16 years.

Second, a study published in Circulation (April 8, 2002) found that giving capsules containing 1 g of fish oil?the omega-3 fatty acids found only in fish?to people who had had heart attacks reduced their risk of sudden death by 42%.

A third study (New England Journal of Medicine, April 11, 2002) also dealt with omega-3 levels. It focused on the sudden death of 94 male doctors who were participants in the Physicians? Health Study of more than 20,000 people, which has been under way for 17 years. None had a history of heart disease when the study began. Researchers found that, on average, blood from the men who died suddenly contained much lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than did blood from others in the study. Overall, the study found that men with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids had an 81% lower risk of sudden death. ?Unfortunately?, said the director of the study, Dr. Christine M. Albert, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, ?there [aren?t] any good data on how much fish it takes to get to a certain blood level.?

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