Friday, March 07, 2014

Why Japanese men are healthier than American men

Here's one reason: According to new research in Heart, middle-aged Japanese men living in Japan had lower incidence of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than middle-aged white men living in the United States, likely due to the significantly higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

After accounting for risk factors for heart disease, the U.S. men had three times the incidence of coronary artery calcification as the Japanese men after five years – while the levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid in the blood were more than 100% higher in the Japanese than in the white men.

The vast difference in heart disease and levels of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid are not due to genetic factors. When the researchers looked at Japanese Americans, we find that their levels of coronary artery calcification are actually higher than that of the rest of the U.S. population.

The team noted that the average dietary intake of fish by Japanese people living in Japan is nearly 100 grams each day, while the average American eats about 7 to 13 grams of fish a day, or about one serving a week.

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