People who eat fish a few times each week are less likely to suffer a stroke than those who only eat a little or none at all, according to a new report.
The result was drawn after reviewing 15 studies conducted among nearly 400,000 participants. The studies were conducted in the United States, Europe, Japan and China; each asked people how frequently they ate fish and then followed them for between four and 30 years to see who suffered a stroke.
The results add to growing evidence comes that eating fish two to three servings per week is enough to get the benefit.
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish may lower stroke risk through their positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Vitamin D, selenium, and certain types of proteins in fish may also have stroke-related benefits.
Eating three extra servings of fish each week was linked to a 6% drop in stroke risk, which translates to one fewer stroke among a hundred people eating extra fish over a lifetime.
The people in each study who ate the most fish were 12% less likely to have a stroke than those that ate the least.
One of the studies included in the analysis found that people who ate more fried fish and fish sandwiches, not surprisingly, didn't get any stroke benefit.
It's likely that people who start out eating no fish or very little probably have the most to gain by adding to their menu more often.
Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the American Heart Association recommend eating at least two servings of fish each week.
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