Traditionally, research into Heart Disease has been focused on the male of the species: the obvious reason being that men seemed to be "slipping off the twig" far more frequently than their female companions! And this is true ... to a certain extent, but in fact heart disease kills more women than breast cancer and has been the bridesmaid of what ails women when it comes to research. Thankfully, over the last 10 years this has changed and its really good to see researchers publishing articles based on how to reduce Heart risk for women which is both relevant and practical.
A group of researchers in Copenhagen have recently published their findings after following 49,000 women - median aged just under thirty - for an eight year period and found that those who incorporated some fish in their weekly diet were 50% less likely to have had a cardiovascular problem.
The following points are interesting to note:
- Hardly any of the women who ate fish, actually took fish oil supplements: in fact the few who did take supplements were excluded from the study.
- This was a group of young women of child bearing age, and the benefits accrued to them from eating fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids was measurable in a relatively short time. In other words, this wasn't a "superannuation effect" - one which you have to wait until your over 65 to benefit from!
- The quantity of fish eaten varied, with benefits being noticeable with as little as two servings per month. However, the recommended amount is to have fish as a main meal twice a week.
- The study was based on phone interviews which I am always a little wary about: but the numbers were high and the subject not a threatening one, so my feeling is that the results do carry significant weight.
The big question is "What fish should I consume"? This will depend on the area of the planet you live on, but Sardines, Salmon and Tuna are always reliable sources. For those of us in Oz,
- Ocean trout
- Atlantic salmon
are all good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids: Bon Apetite!