London: Increasing the intake of fish to a minimum of three to four weekly meals can boost good cholesterol levels which may provide protection against heart diseases, a new study has found.
People who increased their intake of fatty fish had more large High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) particles in their blood than those who were less frequent eaters of fish, said researchers at the University of Eastern Finland.
The study provides new information on how the consumption of fish affects the size and lipid concentrations of lipoproteins which transport lipids in the blood, researchers said.
They observed that a higher intake of fish increased the number of large HDL particles and lipids contained in them.
Population-based studies have shown that HDL cholesterol - also known as good cholesterol - and large HDL particles are efficient in sweeping extra cholesterol off artery walls.
Large HDL particles have been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, whereas small HDL particles may even have opposite effects.
Positive changes in lipid metabolism were observed in persons who increased their intake of fish most, ie in persons who ate at least three to four fish meals per week.
The study participants ate fatty fish such as salmon, rainbow trout, herring and vendace. No added butter or cream was used in the preparation of fish.
The study does not give answers to whether a similar effect would have been observed had the study participants mainly eaten low-fat fish such as zander and perch, researchers said.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.