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Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 05/24/2011

Baked, broiled fish lower heart failure risk among women, study says

We’ve all heart that eating fish is good for your heart. There’s some new evidence out about exactly what kind of fish and how to prepare it to get those health benefits.

Donald Lloyd-James of Northwestern University and colleagues analyzed data collected between 1991 and 2008 from 84,493 women participating in the federally funded Women’s Health Initiative, which is examining a host of health issues.

Those who consumed the most baked or broiled fish — five or more servings per week — were about 30 percent less likely to develop heart failure over a 10-year period, the researchers reported in a paper in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, published by the American Heart Association.

Previous research has found that so-called omega-3 fatty acids in fish, such as EPA, DHA and ALA, might reduce the risk for heart disease by lowering inflammation and blood pressure and improving heart and blood vessel function.

The new study indicates that the type of fish and how it is prepared is important. Dark fish, such as salmon, mackerel and bluefish, was associated with a much lower risk for heart failure than tuna or white fish, such as sole, snapper and cod. Fried fish was associated with an increased risk for heart failure, the researchers found. Just one serving of fried fish per week appeared to increase the risk by about 48 percent.

“Not all fish are equal, and how you prepare it really matters,” Lloyd-James said. “When you fry fish, you not only lose a lot of the benefits, you likely add some things related to the cooking process that are harmful.”

For more information about what the American Heart Association says about eating fish click here. For a healthy Salmon-with-cilantro-pesto recipe click here. For general cooking tips and nutritional information, click here.

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