TUESDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Long known as heart-healthy, fish that's baked or broiled also protects against developing heart failure, a new study suggests.
Research tracking more than 84,000 postmenopausal women for an average of 10 years found that those whose diets included more baked and broiled fish -- defined as five or more servings per week -- had a 30 percent lower risk of heart failure compared to women who ate less than one serving per month.
"A direct relationship between fish and heart failure is not necessarily intuitive because you might expect it protects against heart attacks," said senior study author Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a preventive cardiologist and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, in Chicago. "But that's not the mechanism in place here . . . and I think that's kind of interesting. It's also interesting that how you prepare fish is just as important as the kind of fish you're eating."
The study is published May 24 in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
Eating fried fish -- previously tied to greater risks for strokes -- is linked to a higher danger of heart failure, the study found, with even one serving per week associated with a 48 percent greater risk.
Additionally, dark fish such as salmon, mackerel and bluefish were associated with lower risks than either tuna or white fish such as sole, snapper or cod.
Prior research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids in fish reduced risks for cardiovascular disease by lowering inflammation and improving blood pressure and cardiac and blood vessel function.
Lloyd-Jones said his study showed no specific link between omega-3s and heart failure, as compared to overall heart disease, but noted that science is still teasing out all the nutritional aspects of fish. Heart failure is characterized
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