Omega-3 Fatty Acid From Fish May Be Key to Healthy Aging, Study Says

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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“I’ll have the fish.”

According to findings recently published in The British Medical Journal, we should be making that choice at least twice a week if we want healthy, long lives.

American researchers followed 2,622 adults, of an average of 74, for 25 years. In addition to overall health, the blood levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids — healthy fats found in foods such as fish, nuts, leafy greens and vegetable and flaxseed oils — were recorded.

In the end, the higher the omega-3 levels, the healthier participants stayed over time.

Rather than length of life, however, researchers focused on quality of life.

“People nowadays are living longer, but they are not necessarily in good health,” Heidi Lai, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy told Time Health. “No one really wants to live a long life and spend most of their late life burdened with disease.”

Healthy aging was defined as living into old age or dying after 65 without chronic conditions such as heart disease, dementia and cancer.

Only 11 per cnet of people studied met that criteria. They were the group with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acid in their blood. And as for diet, they reported eating around two servings of fish per week.

RELATED: 10 Flavourful Fish & Seafood Recipes

Although the observational study’s aim was not to determine cause and effect,  Lai suggested that the results may have to do with the fact that we process omega-3’s from fish differently than from plant sources.

For your daily recommendation of omega-3 fatty acid and food sources, click here.