- Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Research has suggested that eating two portions of oily fish a week could help stave off a stroke.
Scientists found that eating two servings of fish such as salmon, trout or mackerel each week could moderately reduce the risk of a stroke.
But fish oil supplements do not have the same benefits as oily fish such as kippers, sardines, fresh tuna or whitebait.
An international team of researchers examined the association between oily fish - a good source of omega 3 fatty acids - and the risk of strokes or mini-strokes.
They examined 38 studies involving almost 800,000 people across 15 countries and looked at participants' fish and long chain omega 3 fatty acid consumption.
During the studies, 34,817 strokes and mini strokes were noted.
Those who consumed two to four servings of oily fish each week had a six per cent lower risk of stroke compared with those who had just one portion or less.
This was even after adjusting for several risk factors.
Fish oil supplements were not significantly associated with a similar reduced risk, the study published on bmj.com said.
Eating oily fish has already been linked to health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease.
The Food Standards Agency recommends that everyone should eat at least two 140g portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish.
Dr Peter Coleman, deputy director of research at the Stroke Association said: "From past research we know that eating plenty of fish is good for our general health.
"This research shows that it could also help to protect us against stroke.
"However, it’s interesting to see that taking fish oil supplements doesn’t have the same beneficial effect.
"People who eat lots of fish may have healthier diets in general which could go some way to explain the results.
"However, a lot more research is needed in this area before we decide to eat fish every day of the week.
"You can reduce your risk of stroke by exercising regularly, consuming a healthy, balanced diet and getting your blood pressure checked."