The risk of developing heart failure was lower for postmenopausal women who frequently ate baked or broiled fish, but higher for those who ate more fried fish, in a study reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.
Women who ate the most baked/broiled fish (five or more servings/week) had a 30 percent lower risk of heart failure compared to women who seldom ate it (less than one serving/month).
This study showed that the type of fish and cooking method may affect heart failure risk. The researchers found that dark fish (salmon, mackerel and bluefish) were associated with a significantly greater risk reduction than either tuna or white fish (sole, snapper and cod).
In a similar analysis, eating fried fish was associated with increased heart failure risk. Even one serving a week was associated with a 48 percent higher heart failure risk.
“Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., senior author of the study. “When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that are harmful.”
Lloyd-Jones and his team examined self-reported dietary data from 84,493 postmenopausal women in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. They then divided study participants based on the frequency and type of fish consumption. Two groups of fish intake were defined: baked/broiled fish or fried fish. The baked/broiled fish group consisted of canned tuna, tuna salad, tuna casserole, white fish (broiled or baked), dark fish (broiled or baked) and shellfish (not fried). The fried fish group consisted of fried fish, fish sandwich and fried shellfish.
Participants whose diets included more baked/broiled fish tended to be healthier and younger than their counterparts who ate fried fish. They were more physically active and fit, more educated and less likely to smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease (irregular heartbeat and coronary artery disease).
While previous studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a decrease in some types of heart disease, their precise relationship to heart failure risk was unclear. Researchers sought to clarify the connection between fish and heart failure risk in postmenopausal women.
Source: American Heart Association, USA