Eat lots of fatty fish to protect yourself from heart attacks
A heart attack is an acute and life-threatening event that no one wants to experience voluntarily. For a long time, doctors have been looking for ways and means to prevent heart attacks or at least to reduce their likelihood. Researchers have now found that regular consumption of fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids reduces our risk of this deadly heart disease.
Heart attacks are one of the most common causes of death worldwide. Many of these could perhaps be prevented by simply changing our eating habits. Scientists from Tufts University in Boston and the Stanford University School of Medicine have now found in an investigation that eating foods with omega-3 fatty acids can protect us from heart attacks. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Internal Medicine".
Consuming fish protects against heart attacks
The results of our study support the importance of fish in protecting against heart attacks, the researchers say. Due to the high omega-3 content, we should consume more fish in order to eat healthier and protect against heart diseases, author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston.
Which fish contain the most omega-3 fatty acids?
Although there have been some studies on fish oil recently, uncertainties still exist about the cardiovascular effects of omega-3 fatty acids, explains Dr. Mozaffarian continues. Fish are one of the most important sources of food for omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish like salmon, trout, anchovies, sardines and herring contain most of these nutrients.
Study analyzes data from nearly 46,000 subjects
The scientists also explain that walnuts, linseed oil, rapeseed oil and some other seeds and nuts contain plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, which is referred to as alpha-linolenic acid. For their current study, the researchers analyzed the data from 19 studies from 16 countries. Almost 46,000 people were involved. Almost 8,000 of the subjects suffered a first heart attack. Over time, 2,781 participants died of heart problems, the doctors say.
Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks
Plant-based and seafood-based omega-3s have not been associated with a reduced risk of non-fatal heart attacks. However, there was a ten percent reduced risk of fatal heart attacks. The study was unable to find a direct cause-effect relationship for this.
Other positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have other positive effects on human health, and older studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are good for rheumatism patients. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids appear to be suitable for Alzheimer's prevention because they can improve the performance of our memory.
The results provide a comprehensive picture of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids
The new analysis provides the most comprehensive picture of how omega-3 fatty acids can affect our heart disease, says study leader Liana Del Gobbo from Stanford University School of Medicine. The results of the diverse studies have also been consistent across age, gender, race, possible diabetes, aspirin, or cholesterol-lowering drugs, Gobbo adds. (as)