salmon steakA study by the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen found those who have fish-rich diets could cut their risk of heart attack or stroke by 90 per cent.

Traditionally findings have highlighted the health benefits for men of omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel and sardines.

However it is now believed that, because of gender differences, fish oil might be even more beneficial for women improving blood pressure, cardiac and blood vessel function.

Published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, the study involved 49,000 Danish women aged 15 to 49 whose health was monitored for eight years.

Over the period their diet, lifestyle and family history were assessed, with 577 cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes recorded, five of which resulted in death.

Researchers found women who rarely, or never, ate fish had 90 per cent more cardiovascular problems than those who ate oily fish every week. Although the study found cardio-protective effects at relatively modest dietary levels, the authors believe that higher levels may yield additional benefits.