Thursday, November 26, 2009


I just came across this small but interesting study that was presented as a poster, at the just concluded American Heart Association Annual Scientific meeting 2009 at Orlando. It was not a revolutionary study, but was practical, and I get asked this every now and then.
We all know that eating fish, helps the heart because of the omega-3-fatty acid that fish contains. This fact has spun a whole new industry of fish oil capsules for good health.
But how many of us are particular about the type of fish, and even more important, how the fish is prepared.
Well Dr Lixin Meng and her colleagues at the University of Hawaii undertook such a study. They studied and followed up 80,000 males and 100,000 females from age 45-75 yrs and followed them up for 12years. They cohort were from Los Angeles and Hawaii, and included Caucasians, Afro-Americans, Japanese, native Hawaiian, Latino Americans. Recruitment began in 1993-1996. After 12 years of follow up, they found that for the type of fishes, the deeper the sea, the better. So wild salmon and tuna were best. As for the type of cooking, raw and stir-fried ( Japanese style ) was best. Deep fried, dried, salted was worse. After 12 years of follow-up, there were about 4,500 deaths ( 2,604 males and 1,912 females ). Those who were on raw fish and stir-fried, had a 23% reduction in CV mortality ( compared to the control, who ate almost no fish ) and those who ate mainly fried, dried or salted fish had a 12-15% increase in CV mortality. This is very significant.
I suppose, the take home message will be that we should eat fish from clean deep seas ( whenever possible. Are there anymore clean, deep seas ) and we should either eat them raw or fried in the Japanese stir-fried way. It is good to know that cheap things no good, and good things no cheap. There is a cost for Japanese raw fish. As for fish-oil capsules that is so popular, we really have no data. Tuna shasimi anyone?

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