EATING FISH MAY LEAD TO A LONGER LIFE.

nina | April 5th, 2013 - 9:00 am

We’ve all heard that eating fish is good for us. Regularly eating fish has been linked to a host of health benefits – for our hearts, our eyes, and our brains. 

Now here’s some more good news: A study suggests that eating oily fish once or twice a week could maybe add a few years to your life. 

Oily fish like salmon, trout and herring are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to numerous bodily functions. Researchers wanted to know how eating fish high in omega-3s affected health. So over the course of 16 years, a group of almost 2,700 healthy adults aged 65 years or older were monitored and below are the results.

YOUR HEALTH.
Getting Brain Food Straight from the Source.  This study measured blood levels of omega-3s instead. And since they were interested in dietary intake only, they excluded participants who took fish oil supplements.

After controlling for factors like age, sex and lifestyle, the study found that, on average, adults with the highest blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids lived 2.2 years longer. In particular, these adults had a 35 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Higher levels of fatty acids were most strongly associated with decreased risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

“Omega-3 fatty acids are very unique in that, at very small levels in the diet, they have pretty powerful effects on a range of body functions.

The main reason why omega-3s are important is because of their role in building cell membranes. Our cell membranes are 95 percent fat. If you didn’t have fatty acids, you wouldn’t have cells.

Omega-3s can stabilize the function of heart cells. They can also alter the way that cells interact with each other and even affect gene function. It is  recommended that people, especially those over 65, make an effort to include fish in their diets. You get the most “bang for your buck” by eating one to two servings of fatty fish per week.

However, consuming more than two servings of fish per week doesn’t appear to increase blood levels of omega-3s much further. This means that, as long as you eat fish regularly, it’s probably unnecessary to take additional fish oil supplements.

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Source:  npr.org, 4.1.2013

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