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Fatty Fish Tied to Good Cholesterol Levels

Update Date: Mar 03, 2014 11:50 AM EST

Based on several studies examining nutrition and diet, researchers have known that eating fish is beneficial for one's health. In a new study, researchers from the University of Eastern Finland set out to examine what happens to the body when people intake higher levels of fatty fish. The researchers found that when people increase their consumption of fatty fish, they had more large HDL (high-density lipoprotein) particles in their blood in comparison to people who did not eat as much fish. Large HDL particles have been tied to protecting the body from cardiovascular diseases.

For this study, the researchers recruited 131 participants between the ages of 40 and 70 who had impaired glucose metabolism and some symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors that increase one's likelihood for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. The participants were divided into three different diet groups lasting 12 weeks each. The first group ate wholegrain and low postprandial insulin response grain products, fatty fish three times a week, and bilberries three portions per day. The second group had the same diet without the fish and bilberries. The last group acted as the control and ate refined wheat breads. Only 106 participants finished the study.

The researchers found that participants who increased their consumption of fatty fish, which included salmon, rainbow trout, herring and vendace, had higher levels of large HDL particles and lipids. Larger HDL particles are more efficient in removing extra cholesterol from the walls of the artery, which is why HDL cholesterol has been tied to reducing risk of certain health conditions, such as heart disease. The researchers noted that they did not identify the effects of eating low-fat fish, such as zander or perch in this study. However, in a previous study conducted at the same university, researchers reported that eating low-fat fish had other health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure levels.

The study, "Effects of Whole Grain, Fish and Bilberries on Serum Metabolic Profile and Lipid Transfer Protein Activities: A Randomized Trial (Sysdimet)," was published in PLOS ONE.

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