What do health organizations say about the benefits of eating fish?
The American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines includes a recommendation that people eat fish (including canned tuna) for heart health benefits. Specifically, the AHA says, "At least 2 servings of fish per week are recommended to confer cardio-protective effects." The guidelines also mention the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids in fresh and canned tuna on other diseases such as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
At the same time, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends eating 2-3 fish meals per week, and points to fish as a low-fat source of protein that may help lower cholesterol. In addition, the Association says that research shows a number of benefits from consuming omega-3 fatty acids, found mainly in fatty, cold water fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and lake trout. According to the ADA, omega-3 fatty acids help make the blood less sticky, so it flows through blood vessels more easily and is less likely to form clots, which can contribute to heart attacks and strokes.
Additionally, the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 - issued in January 2005 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) - encourages consumers to eat two eight-ounce servings each week of foods, such as canned tuna, that are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
Based on an extensive review of the science, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that higher levels of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are associated with the reduced risk of both sudden death and death from coronary heart disease in adults. Specifically, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee estimates a 30 percent reduction in the risk of coronary deaths with the increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids.