Regular consumption of fish has long been associated with reduced risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Now latest research has linked the inclusion of fish in the diet as a preventative for stroke.
It is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish known as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation within the body particularly in the circulatory system and the immune system.
The presence of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet mean that the inflammation and restriction of the blood vessels that puts pressure on the heart to pump harder so that the blood can be circulated is reduced. Therefore blood pressure and coronary heart disease risk is reduced. Additionally, with reduced inflammation of the capillaries and blood vessels, veins and arteries, there isn’t anything for the bad cholesterol to bind to, subsequently, the cholesterol can be excreted.
A team lead by Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury from Cambridge University analysed the results of 38 studies which involved almost 800,000 individuals from 15 different countries.
The results suggested that eating two portions of oily fish a week was most significantly linked to the prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke. The same association wasn’t found with the consumption of omega-3 supplements.
The researchers found that the association could have been due to the fact that the consumption of fish meant that fewer portions of red meat would have been consumed a week.
Eating oily fish also has added benefits of providing dietary sources of vitamin D and B which have also separately been associated with vascular health.
The presence of fish in the diet has also been linked to decreased rates of depression and bi-polar disorder.
This researcher suggest that by consuming two portions of oily fish such as mackerel and sardines a week, individuals could be both preventing and improving vascular health.