Fish Dishes Help Avoid Heart Failure?
Tuna or other broiled or baked fish rich in omega-3 fats may be best
WebMD News Archive
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
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.
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
- 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
No Benefit Seen From Fried Fish
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
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."
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna, and herring. Last
September, the FDA decided to allow foods and supplements containing the
omega-3 fatty acids found in fish -- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA
(eicosapentaenoic acid) -- to bear labels saying that eating the product may
help reduce the risk of heart disease.
The U.S. government advises pregnant women and young children to limit
eating of some fish due to contaminants such as mercury, says Mozaffarian.