Fishy secret to ageing well: omega-3s to the rescue

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Ever wonder why your grandma keeps telling you to eat more fish?

Well, turns out, there’s a scientific reason for it!

The Story Behind Those Fishy Dinners

Scientists from Tufts University have been investigating something exciting. They’ve found out that the more omega-3 fatty acids you have in your blood (the stuff you get from seafood), the better your chances are of ageing healthily.

Now you might be thinking, “What on Earth is healthy ageing?” It’s a fancy way of saying living a long life without severe health problems, and staying physically and mentally sharp. And who wouldn’t want that?

The Not-So-Secret Ingredients

There are these things called omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (we’ll call them n-3 PUFAs because who has the time to say that mouthful, right?).

These are special types of fat that come from seafood and plants. Some smart folks in lab coats thought these n-3 PUFAs could help people age healthily.

The Tufts scientists decided to put this theory to the test. They picked a group of 2,622 adults who were part of a big health study in the US.

These folks were pretty seasoned in life, with the average age being 74 years. Most of them were women, and 11% came from diverse racial backgrounds.

Testing the Fishy Theory

The scientists had a look at the participants’ blood levels of n3-PUFAs at the start of the study and again after 6 and 13 years.

They were specifically looking at four types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

In simple terms, EPA, DHA, and DPA are the good stuff you get from eating seafood. ALA, on the other hand, is found in plants like nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables.

The Exciting Results

Over the course of the study, 89% of the participants aged in what scientists call an “unhealthy” way. But the remaining 11% aged “healthily”. When the scientists looked closer, they found a cool pattern.

People with the highest levels of seafood-derived EPA were 24% less likely to age unhealthily.

And those with high DPA levels were 18-21% less likely to age unhealthily. But the plant-based ALA and seafood-derived DHA didn’t seem to make a difference.

The Science Behind the Fishy Secret

Why do these omega-3s from seafood help with healthy ageing? Well, the scientists think it’s because they help control blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation.

What This Means For You

The takeaway from this study is clear: the more omega-3s from seafood you have in your body, the better your chances of ageing well.

Now you understand why grandma was so insistent on those fishy dinners! But don’t forget, it’s not just about seafood.

Staying healthy as you age involves maintaining a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. So keep moving, and eat your greens (and your fish)!

For more insights into healthy living, check out other studies on the benefits of fiber in preventing high blood pressure, and why animal protein might be better for ageing muscles than plant protein.

And don’t miss out on the latest health updates on how your coffee habits and fruit and vegetable intake could influence your longevity.

Remember, knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health!

The study, conducted by Heidi Lai and her team, was published in The BMJ. So, next time you’re considering what’s for dinner, it might just be worth giving grandma’s advice a second thought!

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