Many older adults still hold on to the outdated idea that all fats in foods are inherently bad for our health but recent research has found a strong connection between healthy fats and heart, gut, and brain health. Omega-3s in particular have been associated with greater longevity and levels of these fatty acids in the blood could be a predictor of mortality among older adults.
According to a recent Well + Good report, a new study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, tracking 2,240 participants over 11 years found that older adults with high omega-3 levels in their blood who were non-smokers had the highest survival estimate. Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with many health benefits, including helping to combat inflammation.
A traditional Western diet may be lacking in omega-3 fats but increasing intake of foods like fatty fish can help boost heart health and longevity. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends eating two 4-ounce servings of fatty fish like salmon, trout, or sardines each week. Flaxseed oil, walnut oil, canola oil, algae oil, or soybean oil are also good sources of plant-based omega-3s. Ground flaxseed can be added to yogurt or cereal and snacking on edamame or walnuts can help provide a daily dose of the omega-3 fatty acids.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends consuming no more than 3 grams of omega-3s per day or 2 grams a day from supplements. Too much of the fatty acid can cause stomach upset. Talk with your doctor before taking any supplement, even over-the-counter products, as they can sometimes interact with prescription medication.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, omega-3 fats may not only help protect against heart disease, research is investigating their role in reducing the risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Need some omega-3 cooking inspiration? Follow this link to Heart & Stroke Healthy Living to discover many new heart-healthy fish and seafood recipes.