To Your Health
May, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 05)
Eat Fish, Live Longer
We all know eating fish has a number of benefits, but what if we told you it can also help you live longer? That is what many researchers have found after doing numerous studies. According to a new study, eating fish could potentially slash an older person's risk of dying prematurely by more than a quarter, and their risk of dying from heart disease by more than a third, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington.
In addition, researchers discovered that older adults with the highest blood levels of the fatty acids found in fish lived, on average, happened to find themselves living 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels.
Researchers have long linked the consumption of unsaturated fats in fish with a reduced risk of dying from heart disease. And the American Heart Association recommends eating fish -- especially fatty fish -- at least twice a week.
This new study has a lot of significance because now fish is being considered a key diet component for living a long time, not just avoiding heart disease. The study was published online April 1 in Annals of Internal Medicine.
In their study, researchers examined 16 years of data pertaining to 2,700 healthy U.S. adults aged 65 or older who participated in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). The researchers also analyzed the total proportion of blood omega-3 fatty acids -- including three specific ones -- in participants' blood samples at baseline. After adjusting for dietary, lifestyle and other factors, they found that the fatty acids were linked with a significantly lower risk of mortality.
One type in particular -- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) -- was most strongly related to a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease death. Of the other blood fatty acids measured -- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) -- DPA was most strongly associated with lower risk of stroke death, and EPA most strongly linked with lower risk of nonfatal heart attack, according to a press release. None of these fatty acids were dramatically related to other, noncardiovascular causes of death.
Overall, participants with the highest levels of all three types of fatty acids had a 27 percent lower risk of total mortality due to all causes.
The types of fish that contain high levels of omega-3 include mackerel, trout, tuna, salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies. Make sure to get a few of these in your diet and reap the benefits of having a few extra years of life.