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Regular Fish Consumption Sharply Reduces RA Risk

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The benefits of eating fish on a regular basis have been widely documented. Now a Swedish study has established that it can halve the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the Guardian reports.

Researchers from Stockholm-based Karolinska Institute found that a weekly portion of fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel cuts the risk by 52%. The same effect can be achieved with four servings of lean fish per week. However, the researchers note in their report that such an outcome is associated with long-term fish intake, the minimum being ten years. Eating any fish on a weekly basis delivers benefits as well, reducing RA risk by 29%.

The research team, led by Professor Alice Wallin, set out to analyse the link between dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and RA. Their study was based on information provided by 32,232 participants in the Swedish Mammography Cohort study. The women, born between 1914 and 1948, filled in food-frequency questionnaires (FFQ) in 1987 and 1997. Analysing that data, the Karolinska Institute researchers found that a dietary PUFAs intake of more than 0.21g per day lowered the risk of RA by 35%. When the intake is consistently maintained at that level over a long period, the risk goes down by 52%.

RA is estimated to affect 690,000 Britons, the Guardian said. About one in 100 people in the country will develop this painful condition and the risk is three times as high for women. The diagnosis is usually established between the ages of 40 and 60, the article added.