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Consuming higher levels of fatty fish such as salmon and trout and walnuts and flaxseed oil may increase the levels of omega-3 fatty acids and lower the risk of dying from heart attacks, finds a new study.
The findings showed that both plant-based and seafood-based omega-3s lead to about 10 per cent lower risk of fatal heart attacks.
“Our results lend support to the importance of fish and omega-3 consumption as part of a healthy diet,” said Dariush Mozaffarian from Tufts University in Boston, in the US.
Fish is the major food source of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
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Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, anchovies, sardines and herring contain the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, although all fish contain some levels, according to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, fish provide specific proteins, vitamin D, selenium and other minerals and elements.
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid found in walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil and some other seed and nuts and their oils, said the paper published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
For the study, a total of 19 studies were involved from 16 countries and including 45,637 participants. Of these, 7,973 people developed a first heart attack over time, including 2,781 deaths and 7,157 nonfatal heart attacks.
“This new global consortium provides an unprecedented opportunity to understand how blood biomarkers of many different fats and fatty acids relate to diverse health outcomes,” Mozaffarian noted.