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New study shows that oily fish can help prevent arthritis

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There isn’t much in this world that oily fish doesn’t seem to be a panacea for. But researchers have concluded that there is yet another condition that might well be ameliorated and even staved off entirely by tucking in. A new study has appeared in the journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases that indicates that eating at least one portion of oily fish, such as salmon or mackerel, a week can reduce the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, which affects approximately 580,000 people in the UK alone by as much as a half.

The findings emerged after a comprehensive trial that involved more than 32,000 Swedish women and yet again, a diet rich in fish and the essential oils they contain seems to be a safe bet for a long healthy life. Omega 3, the principal ingredient is said to protect both the heart and the brain, but this new research points to its benefits as an anti inflammatory agent, which would explain how it effectively combats arthritis.

The study lasted a decade and there were interesting results across the spectrum. Women who regularly ate any type of fish at least once a week slashed their risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by nearly a third, while those who ate at least one portion of oily fish or four servings of other fish each week halved their risk.

The study focused on fish itself rather than refined fish based supplements, although the scientists have suggested that they may also be hugely beneficial.

Prof Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said: "We've known for some time that there is good evidence that, in people with active arthritis, taking fish oils can reduce the level of inflammation. One of the challenges is that this can mean quite substantial changes in people's diets."

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