Just by increasing fish consumption rich in omega-3 fatty acids, heart disease risk could be reduced in young women.
A population based study of childbearing aged women revealed that women who seldom or never consumed fish had 50% more cardiovascular problems over 8 years compared to women who consumed fish on a regular basis.
In comparison to women who consumed fish high in omega-3 weekly, the risk was 90% higher for women who seldom or never ate fish.
577 cardiovascular events were recorded during the 8 year period, which included 5 cardiovascular deaths in women having no prior diagnosis of the disease. Overall, 328 events were as a result of hypertensive disease, 103 from ischemic heart disease, and 146 from heart disease.
Outpatient and inpatient cardiovascular disease admission was a lot more common for women reporting little or no fish consumption. In 3 different assessments over a 30 week period, women never consuming fish had a 3 fold higher disease risk in comparison to women consuming fish weekly.
Fish oil has long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are considered to offer protection against heart and vascular disease. A small number of women in the research took fish oil supplements, so these were excluded from the analyses and the outcomes were based on omega-3 fatty acid dietary intake, not supplement intake.
The majority of earlier studies that found cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have focused on men. Women and men share many cardiovascular risk factors, but some research has shown that there could also be gender differences, such as inflammation, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels having a more negative influence in women.
Even women who consumed fish just a couple of times a month benefited. Women who consume fish should find the results encouraging, but it’s important to emphasize that to get the greatest benefit from fish and fish oils, women should follow the dietary recommendations to consume fish as a main meal a minimum of twice weekly.
The most common fish eaten by women in the study were salmon, cod, mackerel and herring.
The study demonstrates that consuming fish is really important for general health for younger women, and although it found cardio-protective effects at relatively modest dietary levels, increased fish consumption may yield even more benefits.
References: DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.179382
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