Studies have shown that higher intakes of fish can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, until recently, scientists were uncertain whether eating fish on a regular basis could slow the progression of the disease once it had developed.
Researchers examined the association between fish intake and CVD progression in a cohort study of 229 postmenopausal women participating in the Estrogen Replacement and Atherosclerosis trial. Reporting in the September 2004 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the scientists concluded that “consumption of fish is associated with a significantly reduced progression of coronary artery atherosclerosis in women with coronary artery disease.”
And now a word of caution: Clients need to understand that eating fish does present some dangers, owing to potentially harmful levels of mercury in some kinds of shellfish and fish. That’s why health experts recommend limiting fish consumption to no more than 12 ounces (two average meals) per week and avoiding shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, which all contain high levels of mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish varieties that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.