By: Nicole Capo
Here’s a great piece of news for all of you seafood lovers: Eating fish can help you live longer.
Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids — like mackerel, trout, and salmon — have long been hailed as great brain foods because they help improve memory and learning and battle some forms of mental illness, such as dementia, depression, and schizophrenia. Omega-3s can also lower your triglycerides and counter inflammation. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fatty fish each week to promote cardiovascular health. And now, we’re learning that regular consumption of omega-3-rich foods might also add to your lifespan.
A study led by the Harvard School of Public Health found that older folks with higher levels of omega-3s in their blood lived an average of two years longer than those with lower levels. To be clear, this study did not look at fish oil supplements, but rather the direct connection of diet and omega-3s. The study followed up on seniors during a 16-year period, and the trend found that there was a lower risk of death among those who reported eating more fish. Though the study did not conclusively prove that eating fish was the cause of longevity among the participants, it did suggest a connection, though that could just be due to healthier eating habits among those who tended to eat more fish.
The news should come as no surprise to those following the recent trend in studies on the Mediterranean diet, which has been hailed by many as one of the best ways to eat. Though there isn’t a precise “diet,” eating the Mediterranean way means focusing on legumes, nuts, fruits, veggies, whole grains, olive oil, and, of course, seafood. It also focuses on cutting out or moderating your intake of red meat and sweets but, there’s no need to worry about giving up all of your vices! People who seek to follow this lifestyle are encouraged to indulge in a little bit of wine — for your heart health, obviously. The Mediterranean diet has also been proven to have an impact on longevity; one study showed that people who eat in this fashion have a 20% increased chance of living longer.
So, the next time your friends are whining about your decision to get anchovies on your group pizza, just tell them you’re looking out for their health — and maybe offer them some wine to help wash it down.