News National Why Australians with heart disease should get some fish on their fork
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Why Australians with heart disease should get some fish on their fork

Heart disease is a major killer in Australia, but eating fish can help. Photo: Getty
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It doesn’t matter if you put it on a plate, in a pie or in a pasta.

If you’re an Australian with heart disease, eating two servings of fish per week could help prevent you from having major heart attacks or strokes.

That’s according to peer-reviewed international research, released on Tuesday, using data from nearly 150,000 people.

The researchers, from Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University in Canada, found there was a lower risk of major cardiovascular disease and death among high-risk patients when they ate at least 175 grams (two servings) of fish per week.

The researchers observed a similar pattern of results for sudden cardiac death, though their findings only applied to heart disease patients and not the general population.

That includes fresh fish like Australian salmon, and oily fish rich in healthy omega-3 oils, like canned sardines, canned salmon and some varieties of canned tuna.

However, you must avoid fish that contain higher levels of mercury, such as shark, ray, swordfish, barramundi, gem fish, orange roughy, ling and southern bluefin tuna.

According to Australia’s leading health research body, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), eating two servings fish weekly can help:

  • Reduce blood clots and inflammation
  • Improve blood vessel elasticity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower blood triglycerides and
  • Boost ‘good’ cholesterol.

For at least four million Australians who report living with heart disease, the results are welcome news.

Heart disease is the leading underlying cause of death across the country.

Data from the National Heart Foundation shows cardiovascular disease kills one person every 12 minutes, with men making up 40 per cent more deaths than women.

Almost two in three Australians are overweight or obese – a known risk factor for heart disease.

Fortunately, most risk factors are preventable through a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.