Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center have found yet another reason why eating fish can be beneficial.
Dr. Richard J. Deckelbaum, Director of the Columbia Institute of Human Nutrition, has found that a diet rich in fish oils can prevent the accumulation of fat in the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart.
The researcher says that the beneficial actions of fish oil, which block cholesterol build-up in arteries, are even found at high fat intakes.
Fish are generally rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to provide many health benefits, such as helping to prevent mental illness and delaying some of the disabilities associated with aging.
Eating tuna, sardines, salmon and other so-called cold water fish seems to protect people against clogged arteries.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to lower triglycerides, a type of fat often found in the bloodstream.
The current study was carried out in three separate populations of mice-one was fed a balanced diet, one a diet resembling a "Western" diet high in saturated fat, and a third was fed a high fish fat diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
The researchers observed that the fatty acids contained in fish oil markedly inhibit the entry of "bad" cholesterol (LDL) into arteries, and, consequently, much less cholesterol collects in these vessels.
According to them, this is related to the ability of those fatty acids to markedly decrease lipoprotein lipase, a molecule that traps LDL in the arterial wall.
The research team say that their finding may help improve the scientific understanding of omega-3 fatty acids' benefits on heart health.
Dr. Deckelbaum says that people can obtain these health benefits by increasing fish intake, or by using supplements that contain the "long-chain" fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which are found in cold water fish.
The research was published by the American Heart Association's Arteriolosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.