AHA Reconfirms Oily Fish Consumption for Heart Health

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The AHA recommended consuming 2 servings of 3.5 ounces of oily fish per week.
The AHA recommended consuming 2 servings of 3.5 ounces of oily fish per week.

The American Heart Association (AHA) reconfirmed their recommendation to consume seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids in a scientific advisory article published in Circulation.1

The advisory, written by nutrition experts, recommends eating 2 servings of 3.5 ounces of non-fried fish (or about three-fourths of a cup of flaked fish) per week. They emphasized the importance of oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna, all of which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

“Since the last advisory on eating fish was issued by the [AHA] in 2002, scientific studies have further established the beneficial effects of eating seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially when it replaces less healthy food such as meats that are high in artery-clogging saturated fat,” said Eric B. Rimm, ScD, chair of the AHA writing group and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston, in an AHA statement.2

Concerns regarding mercury contamination were addressed. Although serious neurologic problems can occur in newborns, the writing panel concluded that mercury contamination does not have adverse effects on heart disease risk in adults. The benefits outweigh the risks associated with mercury contamination, particularly if one consumes a variety of seafood.

The AHA noted that consuming on average 250 mg/d should be sustainable, but that any increases in fish farming production should be monitored to ensure that the techniques are environmentally appropriate. They also recommended consuming oily fish from a wide range of geographic locations.

References 

  1. Rimm EB, Appel LJ, Chiuve SE, et al; on behalf of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; and Council on Clinical Cardiology. Seafood long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: a science advisory from the American Heart Association [published online May 17, 2018]. Circulation. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000574
  2. Keep saying yes to fish twice a week for heart health [press release]. Dallas, TX; American Heart Association/American Stroke Association: May 17, 2018. Accessed May 17, 2018.
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