The consumption of fish and fish oils has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease, one of the top causes of death in the United States. A recent large-scale study chose to look at the effect of regular fish consumption on postmenopausal women, a group at increased risk of heart disease. Higher intake of broiled and baked fish was associated with lower risk of heart failure, while increased intake of fried fish was associated with higher risk. In fact, women who ate fried fish, even one serving a week, had an alarming 48 percent higher risk of heart failure.
A new study analyzed the fish intake of 84,493 women aged 50-79 of diverse ethnicities and backgrounds. Thee participant took part in a questionnaire about their eating habits which was used to determine how frequently they ate baked/broiled fish, fried fish and omega-3 fatty acids.
The women consuming high amounts of baked or broiled fish had a lower incidence of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity. It’s also worth noting that, when compared to those eating higher amounts of fried fish, they were more likely to exercise regularly, eat more fruits and vegetables and consume an overall healthier diet. Women who ate the most baked/broiled fish (five or more servings a week) had a 30 percent lower risk of heart failure compared to women who rarely consumed it (less than one serving a month).
While previous studies have linked heart health with the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, their relationship to heart failure risk in this study was unclear. The intake of omega-3s showed no reduced or increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
As postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of developing and dying from cardiovascular disease than other groups, opting for broiled or baked fish over fried as often as possible as part of a healthy, balanced diet seems like the way to go. While indulging in greasy fish and chips once in a while won’t hurt you, opt for broiled and baked fish most of the time and your heart will thank you.