Mozaffarian: Seafood Should Be Medicine, Not Just Dinner
Fish and its omega-3 fatty acids should be considered more than just a healthy part of a diet, but among the most important treatments for coronary heart disease (CHD) and sudden cardiac death (SCD), says a Harvard professor of medicine.
"Modest consumption of fish or fish oil, together with smoking cessation and regular moderate physical activity, should be among the first-line treatments for prevention of CHD death and SCD," writes Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The review concludes the "strength and consistence of the evidence" shows eating oily fish like salmon, anchovies and sardines about twice per week can reduce the risk of fatal heart attacks by 36 percent. The study also suggests people can eat less-oily fish more often to meet their omega-3 needs.
The report also addresses the issue of contaminants in fish and offers a doctor's perspective on methylmercury.
"Any potential health risks of contaminants in fish are substantially outweighed by cardiovascular benefits of fish consumption," writes Mozaffarian.
"As nutrition professionals, we look for consensus among a sea of studies," adds Jennifer Wilmes, a dietitian at the National Fisheries Institute in McLean, Va. "This review positions seafood as an indisputable part of preventing the number one cause of death in the [United States]."