Monday, December 27, 2010

Study: How fish is cooked may affect its health benefits

Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to a lower risk of stroke. A new study suggests it’s not only how much fish you eat that matters, but how it’s prepared.

Dr. Fadi Nahab of Emory University led a team that studied the role of race and geography in stroke incidence, with a particular emphasis on the “Stroke Belt’’ in the southeastern United States, where stroke death rates are higher than in the rest of the country. African-Americans also have a higher rate of stroke than whites.

For the study, more than 21,000 people answered a telephone survey about their fish consumption. African-Americans ate more fish per week than whites, but they were also 3 1/2 times more likely to eat at least two servings of fried fish per week than whites. Fried fish consumption was 30 percent higher in the Stroke Belt than the rest of the country.

Eating fried fish may lower health benefits in two ways, the researchers said. First, lean fish such as cod or haddock are more likely to be fried than omega-3-rich salmon, herring, or mackerel. Second, frying fish is believed to reduce natural omega-3s and replace them with cooking oils.

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