The health benefits of eating plenty of fish have been seen in a wealth of scientific studies, but data from a historical cohort study has led to a surprising observation - that high fish intake in childhood may be linked to eventual death from stroke.
Fish Oil is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acid which is believed to promote better cognitive function in both children and adults, and some studies have even pointed to improved behavior of children with ADHD when their diet was supplemented with omega-3. Fish consumption has also been connected to long- and short- term heart health, joint health, and may also help protect against protect against some forms of cancer.
Researchers in UK examined dietary intake of subjects taken from a survey known as Boyd Orr that was carried out across 16 centers in England and Scotland between 1937 and 1939 . The researchers looked at consumption of fruit, vegetables, fish, oily fish, total fat, saturated fat, carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E by 4,028 children aged between 0 and 19 years, estimating intake from total household dietary intake.
The main aim of the study was to find out whether there was any correlation between consumption of these foods and nutrients in childhood and cause of death in adulthood - in particular death attributed to coronary heart disease and stroke.
Results of the study showed that a higher intake of vegetables was associated with lower risk of stroke. But the correlation between a higher intake of fish and a higher risk of stroke in later life was altogether more surprising . Given the wealth of scientific evidence in favor of eating fish as part of a balanced, healthy diet, the new study may not be cause for concern, but further investigation may well be warranted say researchers.
Although they conceded that the number of diet-disease associations examined may mean the observations were due to chance, and the fact that the original data was based on household rather than individual intake could have led to some inaccuracies however researchers say this is not the first time the fish-stroke connection has been made. A number of studies in the past have indicated that fish intake in early life may have an effect on membrane concentrations of arachidonic acid, thereby influencing risk of stroke, particularly haemorrhagic stroke.
At present the UK's Food Standards Agency recommends that people eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish. However because of the low levels of contaminants in oily fish that can build up in the body, girls, pregnant or breastfeeding women and women who might one day have a baby are advised to eat no more than two portions of oily fish a week. For men and other women the maximum is four portions.