Fin fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oils help keep the heart running smoothly
The best source of omega-3 fatty acids is fish and fish oils and CSIRO research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart rhythm disorders and has benefits for blood clotting and blood vessel function.
7 November 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011
Nutritionists consistently urge us to eat more fish for better health and the reasons for doing this are now becoming clearer.
Research into the fish-consuming Eskimo and Japanese populations highlighted the low prevalence of heart disease.
This observation led to many studies investigating the effect of fish oil extracts on heart disease prevention. The fish oils are a concentrated source of omega-3 (or n-3) fatty acids.
Which fish should I eat?
Fat content of seafood groups is broadly outlined in the table below.
Fish are unique because they tend to be higher in long chain polyunsaturated fats than most land animals.
A variety of fish can be included in the diet, with some restrictions placed on crustaceans because of their high cholesterol content.
|Type of seafood ||Examples ||Fat content |
|Fin fish (moderate to high fat) ||sardines, ocean trout, Atlantic salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel ||moderate to high fat, moderate cholesterol, good source of omega-3 |
|Fin fish (low fat) ||whiting, barramundi, trevally, flake, flounder low fat, ||low cholesterol, some omega-3 |
|Other seafood |
|low fat, low cholesterol, some omega-3 |
|low fat, high cholesterol, some omega-3 |
* high cholesterol
By eating the low fat fish, you will be reducing the total fat in your diet, and by eating the moderate to high fat fish you will be consuming more omega-3 fatty acids. Both modifications are beneficial.
What are omega-3 fatty acids good for?
Scientists at CSIRO using different experimental models have shown conclusively that omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart rhythm disorders.
They also appear to have additional benefits for blood clotting and blood vessel function.
The low incidence of heart disease in communities with a fish-based diet led CSIRO researchers to investigate omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish or fish oil?
Fish oils are a concentrated extract and the long term effects have not been fully investigated.
The minimum effective dose of fish oil is not yet determined.
One to two grams of omega-3 fatty acids approximates the amount consumed daily by several populations whose diet is rich in fish.
How much fish?
Three to five fish meals per week should provide a useful amount of omega-3.
Low fat cooking methods such as grilling, baking and barbecues are preferable to frying.
Is tinned fish good too?
Tinned fish is a suitable alternative, especially the 'low salt' products.
Tuna, sardines, herring and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Should supplements be taken?
It is better to replace some meals with fish, rather than add supplements to your total diet.
Read about CSIRO's breakthrough research on omega-3 grains.