Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Adding more fish to your diet could help boost good cholesterol levels, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE.
Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland found that people who increase their intake of fish to a minimum of three to four fatty fish servings per week could increase the number of HDL particles in their blood, which are believed to protect against cardiovascular diseases.
Although many studies have been performed that reveal the benefits of fish, the latest study provides new information on how the consumption affects the size and lipid concentrations of lipoproteins which transport lipids in the blood.
Participants eating fish had salmon, rainbow trout, herring and vendace during the study, with no added butter or cream. The fish used did not include low-fat fish such as zander and perch, which have been observed to lower blood pressure.
Researchers carried out a detailed analysis on the participants to look at their lipoprotein particles. The method allowed the team to look at a total of 14 different particle classes. Not only did the study look at fish consumption, but also looked at the effects of whole grain, fish and bilberries. They said the study emphasizes that increasing overall LDL cholesterol is important.
The study included 131 participants with impaired glucose metabolisms and signs of metabolic syndrome who were randomized into three groups with 12-week periods. The team said 106 subjects completed the study, and they used serum metabolic profiles to study lipoprotein subclasses and lipids as well as low-molecular-weight metabolites.
“There were no significant differences in clinical characteristics between the groups at baseline or at the end of the intervention,” the authors wrote in the journal. “Mixed model analyses revealed significant changes in lipid metabolites in the HealthyDiet group during the intervention compared to the Control group.
“According to tertiles of changes in fish intake, a greater increase of fish intake was associated with increased concentration of large HDL particles, larger average diameter of HDL particles, and increased concentrations of large HDL lipid components, even though total levels of HDL cholesterol remained stable.”
The team concluded that the results suggest that consumption of a diet rich in whole grain, bilberries and fatty fish adds to good cholesterol in the body. They said these changes may be related to known protective functions of HDL such as reverse cholesterol transport and could explain the known positive effects of fish consumption against atherosclerosis.
“People shouldn’t fool themselves into thinking that if their standard lipid levels are OK, there’s no need to think about the diet, as things are a lot more complicated than that. Soft vegetable fats and fish are something to prefer in any case,” Postdoctoral Researcher Maria Lankinen, first author listed on the paper, said in a statement.