Eating fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, twice a week may help reduce the risk of heart failure, cardiac arrest and stroke, according to a scientific advisory by the American Heart Association.
“Scientific studies have established the beneficial effects of eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially when it replaces less healthy foods such as meats that are high in artery-clogging saturated fat,” said Eric B Rimm, a professor at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in the US.
The American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings of non-fried fish, or about three-fourth of a cup of flaked fish every week.
Emphasis should be placed on eating oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines or albacore tuna, which are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, researchers said.
The advisory, published in the journal Circulation, was compiled by a panel of nutrition experts, who also reviewed studies about mercury in fish.
Mercury is found in most seafood but is prevalent in large fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, bigeye tuna, marlin and orange roughy, researchers said.
They concluded that while mercury contamination may be associated with serious neurological problems in newborns, existing scientific research finds that mercury contamination does not have adverse effects on heart disease risk in adults.
The benefits of eating fish substantially outweigh any risks associated with mercury contamination, especially if a variety of seafood is consumed, the researchers said.