Men who are angling to reduce their risk of heart failure should eat fatty fish and consume omega-3 fatty acids, reports a new study by U.S. and Swedish researchers.

During the study, the scientists tracked the diets and health outcomes of men from 1998 to 2004. Findings revealed that those who consumed fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring, whitefish and char, once a week cut their risk of heart failure by 12 percent, compared with men who didn’t eat fish.

But what’s interesting too is that researchers also discovered that men who ate more than one serving of fatty fish or omega-3 fatty acids weekly had the same level of risk of heart failure as men who were not fish eaters.

The study’s surprising finding may result from chance, the researchers said.

But “alternatively, these may be men in poor health who ate more fish to try to improve their ill health, and therefore the fatty fish and fatty acids appear to be risk factors for heart failure,” said Emily Levitan, MD, the study’s leader at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Levitan said she suspects this most likely is the explanation for the researchers’ findings, but they remain uncertain of the data.

Learn more about heart failure and ways to prevent it here