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   Mar 06

Fancy sushi for lunch? Here’s another good excuse – it’ll help you live longer

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can reduce coronary artery calcification

Lots of calcification hardens the arteries – and is a predictor of heart disease

U.S. men who eat one portion of fish a week have three times the rate of coronary artery calcification of Japanese men who eat 1.5 portions a day

Many people are partial to a helping of healthy sushi and now researchers have revealed another reason to indulge in the fishy favourite.

U.S. scientists have found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish can reduce hardening of the arteries.

People who have high levels of coronary artery calcification – which causes the hardening – are more likely to develop heart disease.

Eating sushi could reduce your risk of heart disease because the omega-3 fatty acids in fish prevent coronary artery calcification. Coronary artery calcification is a predictor of heart disease

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that middle-aged men who live in Japan have less coronary artery calcification than middle-aged white men living in the U.S.

They believe this could be because Japanese men consume significantly more fish.

‘Multiple studies have looked at the effect of fish oil on cardiovascular health, with mixed results,’ said lead author Akira Sekikawa, an associate professor of epidemiology.

‘Previous studies investigated substantially lower intake of omega-3 fatty acids than what people in Japan actually get through their diet.

‘Our study seems to indicate that the level of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids consumed must be higher than previously thought to impart substantial protection.’

Marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, especially oily fish and in squid and krill, may help to reduce inflammation and slow the formation of fatty plaques in arteries, he added.

The researchers worked with colleagues in Japan, Hawaii and Philadelphia to follow almost 300 men for five years.

Japanese men who eat a lot of sushi have three times less coronary artery calcification than American men who do not eat much fish

These men had their smoking habits, cholesterol levels, alcohol consumption and blood pressure recorded.

After accounting for risk factors for heart disease, the U.S. men were found to have three times the incidence of coronary artery calcification than the Japanese men.

Meanwhile, the levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid in the blood were more than 100 per cent higher in the Japanese men than in the white men.

‘The vast difference in heart disease and levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid are not due to genetic factors,’ said Dr Sekikawa.

‘When we look at Japanese Americans, we find that their levels of coronary artery calcification are actually higher than that of the rest of the U.S. population.’

The average dietary intake of fish by Japanese people living in Japan is nearly 100 grams each day, which the American Heart Association considers to be 1.5 servings.

The average American eats about seven to 13 grams of fish a day, or about one serving a week.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and globally, according to the World Health Organization. However, Japan bucks this trend, with cancer as the leading cause of death.

Dr Sekikawa added: ‘I am not encouraging Americans to start consuming massive amounts of fish, which may have harmful contaminants, such as mercury, in their flesh.

‘However, our findings indicate that it is worthwhile to take another look at the effect of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids on heart disease, particularly when consumed at higher rates than previously investigated.’

The news comes just days after an Uppsala University study revealed that people who eat a lot of fish are less likely to develop a ‘muffin top’.

The Swedish researchers found that eating polyunsaturated fat – such as that found in salmon – gain more muscle and less fat than those who eat a lot of saturated fat. They found these people also store less fat around their waists and their internal organs.

Source: Daily Mail

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