• 'First study of this size to focus exclusively on women of child-bearing age'

By Sadie Whitelocks


A study found those who have fish-rich diets could cut their risk of heart attack or stroke by 90 per cent

A study found those who have fish-rich diets could cut their risk of heart attack or stroke by 90 per cent

Young women who regularly eat oily fish are less prone to heart disease say scientists.

A groundbreaking study has found that a fish-rich diet could cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by 90 per cent.

Traditionally findings have highlighted the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel and sardines for men.

However it is now believed because of gender differences fish oil might be even more beneficial for women of a child-bearing age, boosting blood pressure, cardiac and blood vessel function.

Lead researcher Dr Marin Strom, from the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen said: 'Our study shows that for younger women, eating fish is very important for overall health.'

The study involved 49,000 Danish women aged 15 to 49 whose health was monitored for eight years.

Over the period their diet, lifestyle and family history were assessed, while 577 cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes were recorded, five of which resulted in death

Researchers found women who rarely or never ate fish had 90 per cent more cardiovascular problems than those who ate oily fish every week.

Dr Strom added: 'To our knowledge this is the first study of this size to focus exclusively on women of child-bearing age.

'Even though we found cardio-protective effects at relatively modest dietary levels, higher levels may yield additional benefits.'

The team now hope that the findings, published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, will encourage younger populations to eat more oily fish.

The NHS recommends that a healthy diet should include at least two portions of fish a week, including one of oily fish.

However, pregnant women should have no more than two portions a week.

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the UK's biggest killer, causing around 94,000 deaths every year and around one in seven women die from the disease.

Symptoms can include chest pain (angina), palpitations and heart attacks  but in some cases, people may not present any symptoms before diagnosis.