A new study on omega-3 shows that it’s the key to living longer and better aging.
Finding ways for longevity and healthy aging becomes even more important the older you get.
One way you can do that is by including more omega-3 intake in your daily meals.
In one recent study, the researchers set out to discover the connection between omega-3s and longevity. They tracked 2,240 participants over 11 years and analyzed the omega-3 levels in their blood.
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What Are Omega 3 Fats?
Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of fat that our body requires. They are a type of polyunsaturated fat.
This means they are liquid at room temperature. Saturated fats, such as butter or lard, are solid at room temperature.
Research has found that intake of fatty acid-rich foods can reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions .
There are three different kinds of omega-3 fats: Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA), Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), and Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).
You can find ALA in plant foods such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. DHA and EPA typically come from animal sources, such as fatty fish and fish oil .
For those who struggle with getting omega-3s in their diet, fish oil supplements have become a popular option.
Although, research has yet to prove if supplemental forms of omega-3 fats are as effective.
Research suggests consuming a 4-ounce serving of fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, at least twice per week. This will provide enough omega 3s to reap these benefits .
Although omega-3 fatty acids have shown many health benefits, you can have too much of a good thing.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming no more than 3 grams of EPA or DHA in the form of supplements.
Unless otherwise prescribed by your health care physician, high amounts cause uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects .
How Omega 3 Fat Intake Affects Longevity
Now that we know a little more about what omega 3s are, how exactly do they help us live longer? Omega 3s have been shown to help improve heart health, reduce inflammation, and increase cognitive function.
All these benefits can help us to live a longer, and more high-quality life.
Decrease Our Heart Disease Risk
Omega 3 fats are considered cardioprotective. In fact, they are often used to help treat conditions such as hypertension and hyperlipidemia. These conditions can contribute to heart disease risk.
Omega 3s protect our hearts from high LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke in those with known cardiovascular disease. It can also help prevent cardiovascular disease in healthy individuals .
Inflammation is becoming a chronic problem for many people. High levels of inflammation are directly related to disease risk.
Omega 3s help reduce inflammation by inhibiting a specific enzyme produced during the inflammatory response. This is especially significant in DHA and EPA .
Improved Cognitive Function
DHA and EPA are critical for the growth and development of our brains. From the time we are conceived and throughout our lifespan, we need these fats.
Consuming a diet rich in omega 3s helps to support proper blood flow to our brain.
This is associated with better cognition. Increased blood flow also supports memory and reduces the risk of developing dementia .
Top 6 Omega-3 Foods
When it comes to omega 3s, seafood has the highest levels of omega 3 fats. Mackerel comes in at the top with a whopping 4580mg of EPA and DHA per 3.5-ounce serving .
When we think about fatty fish, salmon is usually the first to come to mind. Although it’s not considered the highest fish in omega 3s, it comes in a close second.
With 2150mg of EPA and DHA per 3.5-ounce serving, salmon is also a rich source of vitamin D .
If you’re a fan of oysters, I have good news for you. Just 6 oysters contain 329mg of EPA and DHA. They are also an excellent source of zinc and vitamin B12 .
For those who don’t enjoy seafood, flaxseeds are an excellent plant-based source of omega-3 fats. In fact, flaxseeds are considered one of the richest sources of ALA. Just 1 tablespoon contains 2350mg ALA. You can also purchase flaxseed oil which contains 7260mg of ALA per tablespoon [8, 9].
Another ALA-rich seed is the chia seed. With 5050mg of ALA per 1-ounce serving, chia seeds are nutrient-rich despite their small size. Aside from their ALA content, chia seeds are also rich in plant-based protein and fiber .
Another easy way to get in more omega 3s is by grabbing a handful of walnuts.
With 2570mg of ALA per 1-ounce serving, walnuts are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E. Not to mention, they’re a great topper for salads, parfaits, or just as a snack on their own .
Bottom Line On Omega-3 Foods
There are many benefits to consuming omega-3-rich foods. Decreasing your heart disease risk, reducing inflammation, and improving your brain health are just a few.
Most impressive of all is the impact omega 3s can have on our longevity. So, don’t skip the fish. Remember, it only takes 2 servings per week to make a big impact on your health.
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