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Heart Failure Health Center

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Which Fish Dishes Help Avoid Heart Failure?

Tuna or Other Broiled or Baked Fish Rich in Omega-3 Fats May Be Best
WebMD Health News

June 20, 2005 -- Thinking of eating more fish for heart health? You may want to consider the recipe.

Among older adults, eating tuna or other broiled or baked fish, but not fried fish, is associated with less congestive heart failure, according to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

This study shows that fried fish, particularly lean (nonfatty or white) fish, is unlikely to provide the same heart-healthy benefits as fatty or oily fish, says researcher Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, MPH, FACC, in a news release.

About Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure, which occurs when the heart doesn't pump as strong, becomes more common with age. It's the leading cause of hospitalization for people aged 65 and older.

More than 5 million people in the U.S. have congestive heart failure. That number grows by half a million people per year.

Fish Findings

At first, none of the more than 4,700 adults aged 65 and older in Mozaffarian's study had congestive heart failure. By the study's end, 955 people had developed congestive heart failure.

The risk of congestive heart failure was lower for people who frequently ate tuna or other broiled or baked fish. That's according to food surveys taken at the study's start.

How much lower was the risk? Compared with those who ate tuna or other broiled or baked fish less than once a month, congestive heart failure risk was:

  • 32% lower when such fish were eaten 5 or more times per week
  • 31% lower when such fish were eaten 3 or 4 times weekly
  • 20% lower when such fish were eaten once or twice weekly.

These numbers held true even after accounting for other heart failure risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, physical activity, heart disease, and treated high blood pressure.

Lower Risk Seen With Omega-3 Fats

Fish richest in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids were tied to a 37% lower risk of congestive heart failure than fish with the least amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

The food survey didn't name specific types of fish, apart from tuna. In the news release, Mozaffarian says he believes that salmon accounted for a lot of the "other broiled or baked fish."

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