Regular consumption of naturally-enriched omega-3 chicken and eggs was “likely” to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia and depression, according to the study by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, on behalf of food company Devenish.
In the trial, described as a “world’s first”, 161 people consumed at least three portions of chicken and eggs a week, naturally enriched with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – the same nutrients found in oily fish.
A positive shift in the omega-3 index
The results led to an increase in omega-3-PUFA levels in blood and a positive shift in the omega-3 index – the test that measures the amount of the omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid in red blood cell membranes.
The study showed that consuming omega-3 enriched chicken and eggs resulted in a halving of the number of people with such a high-risk index.
“International guidelines recommend eating oily fish at least once per week. However, many people do not eat fish at all and less than 20% of the world’s population have optimal omega-3 PUFA levels,” said Professor Alice Stanton of The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, who presented the findings at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions Conference in Anaheim, California, last month.
‘Alternatives to oily fish’
“Therefore, in this project we studied the recently-developed alternatives to oily fish or supplementation – namely chicken meat and eggs – naturally enriched with sustainable algae-based omega-3 PUFA.
“Omega-3 enriched chicken and eggs offer consumers an attractive alternative to eating oily fish or to the lifelong taking of supplements, with the potential for substantial health benefits,” Stanton added.
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