The various health benefits of a diet rich in omega-3s have been widely publicized. A new study suggests that these fatty acids could also give a person nearly five years of life.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a link between omega-3 fatty acids and life expectancy and concluded that the presence of high levels of omega-3 in the blood may predict a lower death rate in people over 65.
For their research, the scientists analyzed the level of omega-3 in the blood of 2,240 volunteers aged 65 and over. The data were collected over 11 years thanks to the medical supervision of the patients. Of this panel, 57% were women and 43% men. 384 participants died during the study period.
On average, participants with a higher level of these fatty acids lived 4.7 years longer than participants without. However, those extra years of life expectancy have been wiped out in regular smokers. The researchers found an equivalence between smokers with high levels of omega-3 in their blood and non-smokers with low levels of omega-3. “Being a regular smoker cuts your life expectancy by 4.7 years, just like you do if you have high omega-3 acids in your blood,” said Dr. Aleix Sala-Vila, who collaborated on the study.
A good level of fatty acid in the blood is around 8% or higher, while a low level is around 3%. “It is interesting to note that in Japan, where the average omega-3 index is above 8%, the expected lifespan is about five years longer than in the United States, where the average omega-3 index is around 5% , explains lead researcher Dr. Michael McBurney: “In practice, dietary choices that alter the omega-3 index can make life longer.”
What Are Good Omega 3 Sources?
Some foods are richer in omega-3s than others. To help the body absorb it, it is advisable to consume omega-3s of animal origin. Herring, sardines, tuna, and salmon are excellent candidates for daily consumption. Linseed or rapeseed oil are also rich in omega-3s. With a lower content but easier to incorporate into the diet, green vegetables are a good alternative. As always, it is important to vary your diet.