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Local fish supplies could lower risk of stroke

An international team of scientists has found that two portions of oily fish per week can reduce the risks of having a stroke.

The research team, which included UK Cambridge-based academic Dr Rajiv Chowdhury, has revealed that two helpings of oily fish every week such as sardines, salmon, trout or mackerel, all of which are fished in abundance from Portuguese waters, are beneficial in reducing strokes.

The study examined the association between oily fish, which provides a good supply of omega 3 fatty acids, in relation to the risk of strokes or mini-stokes.

From the 800,000 people involved in the research, from 15 different counties, scientists looked at 38 studies and registered participants’ fish and long chain omega 3 fatty acid consumption.

Results revealed that those participants eating two to four servings of fish per week had a 6% lower risk of stroke, compared to those who consumed one portion or less each week.

The study also found that those who consumed fish oil supplements on a weekly basis did not obtain the same beneficial effects as those eating oily fish.  

In addition to lowered stroke risk, eating oily fish has already been linked to other health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease.

Dr Peter Coleman, deputy director of research at the UK Stroke Association, said: “From past research, we know that eating plenty of fish is good for our general health.”

He added that: “This research shows that it could also help to protect us against strokes. However, it’s interesting to see that taking fish oil supplements doesn’t have the same beneficial effect.

“People who eat lots of fish may have healthier diets in general which could go some way to explain the results. However, a lot more research is needed in this area before we decide to eat fish every day of the week.”

He concluded: “You can reduce your risk of stroke by exercising regularly, consuming a healthy, balanced diet and getting your blood pressure checked”.

Research recommends that everyone should include a minimum of two 140 gram portions of fish in their diet every week – benefiting not only your personal health, but also greatly assisting the local fishing industry. «