Just two servings of fish per week can help prevent recurrent cardiovascular events, according to new research from McMaster University. The experts analyzed multiple large studies involving participants from more than 60 countries.
The study revealed that eating oily fish on a regular basis substantially lowers the likelihood of cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke among high-risk individuals.
The critical compound found in fish is omega-3 fatty acid, which is a type of essential fat that the body cannot make on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids are strongly associated with improved heart health.
The researchers found that, among high-risk individuals, two servings of omega-3-rich fish each week lowered the threat of major cardiovascular events by one-sixth.
“There is a significant protective benefit of fish consumption in people with cardiovascular disease,” said study co-lead author Professor Andrew Mente.
“This study has important implications for guidelines on fish intake globally. It indicates that increasing fish consumption and particularly oily fish in vascular patients may produce a modest cardiovascular benefit.”
According to Mente, people at low risk for cardiovascular disease can still enjoy modest protection from CVD by eating fish rich in omega-3, but the health benefits were less pronounced than those high-risk individuals.
The investigation was based on data from nearly 192,000 people in four studies, including about 52,000 with cardiovascular disease. It is the first study of its kind to be conducted on all five continents.
“This is by far the most diverse study of fish intake and health outcomes in the world and the only one with sufficient numbers with representation from high, middle and low income countries from all inhabited continents of the world,” said study co-lead author Dr. Salim Yusuf.
The study is published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.