High blood concentrations of serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a University of Eastern Finland study published recently in Diabetes Care. The sources of these fatty acids are fish and fish oils.
Being overweight is the most significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which means that diet and other lifestyle factors play important roles in its development. Earlier research has established that weight management, exercise and high blood levels of a fatty acids called linoleic acid, among other things, are associated with reduced risk of diabetes.
Yet, findings on how fish consumption or omega-3 fatty acids affect the risk of diabetes have been highly contradictory.
Ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland, the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) determined the serum (blood) omega-3 fatty acid concentrations of 2,212 men between 42 and 60 years of age at the onset of the study, in 1984-1989.
Serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acid concentrations were used to divide the subjects into four categories. Men who had the highest serum omega-3 fatty acid concentration were 33% less likely to develop diabetes than men who had blood levels in the lowest quartile.
A healthy diet should include at least two fish meals per week, preferably fatty fish. Fish rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout, herring, anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Weight management, regular moderate exercise and a healthy diet constitute the cornerstones of diabetes prevention.
Source: Diabetes Care, December 2013.
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