With more and more people around the world living longer lives, the focus on healthy ageing is growing. Everyone wants a life free from severe chronic diseases and to maintain good physical and mental health as they age.
In a recent study from Tufts University, scientists uncovered that higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood are associated with a higher likelihood of experiencing healthy ageing, particularly among older adults.
A Quest for Healthy Ageing
The term ‘healthy ageing’ implies a meaningful lifespan marked by sound mental and physical functionality, without major chronic diseases.
Scientists have been exploring how omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs), which are typically found in seafood and plants, could promote healthy ageing.
However, the results from previous studies have been inconsistent, prompting further exploration.
In this latest study, the focus was to determine the correlation between levels of n-3 PUFAs and healthy ageing among the elderly.
Researchers scrutinized the health and diet of 2,622 adults, predominantly women, participating in the US Cardiovascular Health study from 1992 to 2015. The participants had an average age of 74 at the beginning of the study.
Observations and Findings: Seafood’s Role
Blood levels of various omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA from seafood and ALA from plants, were measured at different intervals.
The study revealed that 89% of participants experienced unhealthy ageing, whereas 11% aged healthily, maintaining freedom from major chronic diseases and mental or physical dysfunction.
A striking observation was that participants with the highest intake of seafood-derived EPA had a 24% lower risk of unhealthy ageing compared to those with the lowest intake.
Similarly, higher levels of another omega-3 fatty acid, DPA, were associated with an 18-21% reduction in the risk of unhealthy ageing. However, DHA from seafood and ALA from plants didn’t show a significant link to healthy ageing.
The team attributed these findings to the potential of n-3 PUFAs to regulate blood pressure, heart rate, and inflammation, essential factors for maintaining overall health.
Seafood: A Key to Longevity?
The findings suggest that consuming seafood rich in certain omega-3 fatty acids could be a key to lowering the risk of unhealthy ageing among older adults.
This aligns well with other research indicating the benefits of a balanced diet in maintaining health and well-being.
If nutritional well-being is a concern, consider exploring other studies on the significance of fiber in preventing high blood pressure and the advantages of animal protein over plant protein for aging muscles.
For a broader perspective on health, delve into studies linking coffee consumption, regardless of sugar content, to a lower risk of death, and the consumption of fruits and vegetables to a reduced risk of mortality.
Conclusion: Embrace the Seafood Benefit
This study, led by Heidi Lai and her team and published in The BMJ, accentuates the potential benefits of incorporating seafood into our diets, especially for older adults aiming for a healthier and more fulfilling life in their golden years.
A diet enriched with the right kind of omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood could be a simple yet effective way to embrace healthy ageing and enjoy a life of vitality and wellness.
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