Heart Study: Eat Fish, But Not Fried

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to order off the menu or prepare for dinner tonight, here’s a tip: go for the broiled or baked fish. And choose a darker fish, like salmon, mackerel or bluefish, over tuna or sole.

Whatever you decide, make sure it’s not fried.

Why?

A large-scale analysis of postmenopausal women shows that eating baked or broiled dark fish lowered their risk for developing heart disease. But those who ate fried fish at least once a week had a 48 percent higher risk of heart failure, according to a study published in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association Journal.

“Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters,” said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., senior author of the study in a news release. “When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that are harmful.”

Lloyd-Jones and other researchers analyzed data from more than 84,000 women from 1991 through August 2008 in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Eighty-five percent of the study participants were white, 7 percent were African-American and 3 percent were Hispanic. Their average age at the beginning of the study was 63, according to the news release.

Women who ate more baked or broiled fish were healthier and younger than those who ate fried fish. They also exercised more and were less likely to smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, according to the study. Additionally, they ate more fruits and vegetables and fewer unhealthy foods that have saturated or trans fatty acids.

“Baking or broiling fish and eating it frequently seem to be part of a dietary pattern that is very beneficial for a number of things,” said Lloyd-Jones, in the news release. He is associate professor, preventive cardiologist and chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“In this case, we demonstrated that it’s associated with heart failure prevention,” he said. “This suggests that fish is a very good source of lean protein that we ought to be increasing as a proportion of our diet and decreasing foods that contain less healthy saturated and trans fats.”

Source: American Heart Association

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