Women can significantly lower their risk of heart disease by eating fish at least twice a week, researchers say in a study that found benefits similar to those previously seen in men. It is one of five studies bolstering evidence that fish oil is good for the heart.
The study of almost 98,000 women found those who ate fish two to three times a week cut their risk of heart disease by 32%, compared with women rarely ate fish. Women who ate fish five or more times weekly reduced their risk 36%. Past studies showed similar benefits for men, but this was the first to look specifically at the effect in women. A study last year found that women who ate fish two to three times weekly cut their risk of ischemic, or clot-related, strokes by 48%.
"It was very important to confirm that the beneficial effects of fish are also tied to women," said Hu, assistant professor of nutrition in the Harvard School of Public Health. The findings add to the rapidly growing evidence of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which are especially plentiful in dark, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines.