Eating fish a few times a week may be beneficial in lowering stroke risk, according to a new meta-analysis. Researchers examined results from 15 previous studies to summarize the evidence linking fish consumption and stroke risk. According to the Swedish study, published online Sept. 8, 2011 in the journal Stroke, eating three extra servings of fish each week was linked to a 6% drop in stroke risk. And the people in the study who ate the most fish were 12 percent less likely to have a stroke than those who ate the least.

Harvard School of Public Health’s Dariush Mozaffarian, whose research with HSPH colleagues was included in the meta-analysis, told Reuters, “I think, overall, fish does provide a beneficial package of nutrients, in particular the omega-3s, that could explain this lower risk.”

In their study, which drew on data from close to 400,000 people, co-authors Susanna Larsson and Nicola Orsini of Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet wrote that omega-3 fatty acids in fish might lower stroke risk through their positive effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Mozaffarian added that Vitamin D, selenium and certain types of proteins in fish may also have stroke-related benefits.

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