cooked salmon image

By Bob Condor

This is no ordinary fish story. And it’s far from a tall tale.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh’ s Graduate School of Health have just published a new study showing that eating fish high in omega-3 fats might be the greatest protector against heart disease. Here’s why. Men in Japan consume, on average, 3.75 ounces of such cold-water fish as salmon, mackerel and tuna each day. American males, whether white or Japanese-American, eat less than two servings of fish each week—and typically not fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at that.

What’s most groundbreaking about the Pitt study, appearing in the Aug. 5 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is that Japanese men born after World War II who otherwise adopted a Western lifestyle since childhood still experience less than half the rate of coronary disease and related deaths as U.S. men. Factor that Japanese men smoke in higher numbers and have similar percentages of high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

It’s got to be the fish. You may turn up your nose at the thought of mackerel, which is oily and, well, smells fishy. But it is a staple in Japan and a nutritional powerhouse.

Or maybe you turn up your nose at fish altogether, even a (I think) delicious piece of poached salm

on with a lemon-orange-sea salt-and-olive oil sauce. No problem, look for a fish oil supplement that by most accounts will provide the same protection as the seafood itself, particularly if you buy brands that live up to their promises of omega-3 content. Nutritionists tell me regularly they most admire the Dr. Dave's Best –  Super Omega 3 products:

One note about products: The two most potent omega-3 fats are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are abundant in salmon, tuna and mackerel—and you will want them in your fish oil capsules.

The lead researcher, Dr. Akira Sekikawa, assistant professor of epidemiology at Pittsburgh, says the new study “tells us that lower levels of heart disease among Japanese men are much more likely lifestyle related than a result of genetic differences.” The point is underscored by the high heart disease risks endured by third- and fourth-generation men who emigrated to the U.S.

That’s one scientific finding that didn’t get away.

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