There has been a rash of stories in recent weeks based on a Cochrane study that said fish oils are not heart-healthy at all. Eh? That goes against all my knowledge and training.
Here’s WDDTY’s take on the issue – and they point out just one other study (from many others) that came out around the same time – with a bigger sample – that says they are heart-healthy. As always, it seems the media catches onto the negative and reports it as fact, but it is not so clear cut.
For the third time in as many years, a major research group has concluded that fish oil supplements don’t protect against heart disease or stroke—and, in the same week, another study has concluded that eating fish, and their long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, prolongs life and lowers the risk of a heart attack.
There is a debate between fish oil supplements and getting the oils from food. Of course, food is always going to be better. It’s in its natural form, which is easier for us to assimilate. The truth of the matter is, though, that the vast majority of us Joe Public don’t eat fish regularly enough – let alone eat good quality fish. We’re not talking cod in breadcrumbs here or even packet haddock from the supermarkets; more fresh mackerel, wild salmon and wild seabass (note: not farmed!).
Also, the way you cook your fish makes a difference, which makes sense. If you cook it at lower temperatures to preserve the delicate oils, you’re going to get a much stronger protective effect:
Boiling or steaming the fish seems to retain its health-giving benefits whereas people who ate only fried fish were just as likely as people who didn’t eat any fish to suffer from heart disease.
Moral of the story seems to be: Steam yer fish if you can, or bake it slowly at lower temperatures. And if you can’t get good quality fish in regularly enough, then supplementing is the next best bet.