How fish is prepared may affect its benefits

November 18, 2009 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

How fish is prepared may affect its benefits

If you eat fish for its heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, baked or boiled fish is better than fried, salted or dried, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in November 2009. And, researchers said, adding low-sodium soy sauce may enhance the benefits.

In this study, researchers examined the source, type, amount and frequency of dietary omega-3 ingestion among 82,243 men and 103,884 women aged 45 to 75 years old with no history of heart disease.

Researchers divided the participants into groups based on their intake of canned tuna, other canned fish, fish excluding shell fish, or soy products that contain plant omega-3s (soy, tofu and shoyu) They also noted the preparation methods: raw, grilled, baked, boiled; fried; salted or dried.

Overall, men who ate about 3.3 grams per day of omega-3 fatty acids had a 23 percent lower risk of cardiac death compared to those who ate only 0.8 grams daily.

Adding a little bit (less than 1.1 gram per day) of soy sauce and teriyaki sauce to their fish entree was protective for men.

For women, the omega-3 fatty acids also protected against heart disease but not as consistently.

Eating salted and dried fish increased cardiac risk in women. For women, soy sauce use showed a clear inverse relationship to death from heart disease.

It's thought that the high in sodium content of soy sauce could explain its effect on women's heart health. The researchers recommended use of low-sodium soy sauce to overcome this risk.

"It appears that boiling or baking fish with low-sodium soy sauce is beneficial, while eating fried, salted or dried fish is not," said the lead researcher from the University of Hawaii.

Fried, salted or dried fish may contribute to your risk of heart disease. While the researchers did not directly compare boiled or baked fish vs. fried fish, statistical analysis showed boiled or baked fish is protective direction while fried fish is not.

Looking for a heart healthy fish dish? Check out Ginger-Orange Salmon or other recipes with boiled, baked or broiled fish.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.