We’re all getting older, but your nutritional choices can help determine the impact the passage of time has on your body. Studies have shown the benefits of fish oil can guard against some of the negative physical effects that occur over time. Read on to learn more about how the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil guard against the aging process:
Be proactive against inflammation
As you grow older, you are likely to experience low-grade, chronic inflammation, a condition in which part of your body becomes swollen, red and painful. Left unchecked, inflammation can seriously affect your quality of life.
While regular exercise can help minimize this problem, diet is also an important factor. Cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat all promote inflammation, but omega-3 fatty acids work against it.
As the Journal of the American College of Nutrition explained, the anti-inflammatory properties of fatty acids have shown beneficial results for a variety of health problemsoften associated with aging, like high blood pressure and arthritis. This means regular consumption of fish oil may help stave off disease and allow you to stay more active as you age, promoting better overall health.
Keep your cells living longer
Evidence suggests fish oil can lengthen the life spans of your cells. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2010 suggested that omega-3 fatty acids slowed the process by which telomeres, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, diminish over time.
Telomeres are important because they keep DNA contained and allow continued cell division. With each division, however, they grow shorter. When they become too short, further division is impossible.
According to research conducted by University of Utah geneticists, shorter telomeres are associated with abbreviated lives and the development of cancer. They may contribute to the visible signs of getting older as well.
The study of fish oil’s impact on telomere length involved 608 outpatients being treated for coronary heart disease over the course of five years. It found a clear correlation between the amount of fish oil the subjects consumed in that time and the rate at which their telomeres shortened.
These findings support claims that omega-3 fatty acids significantly slow the aging process, keeping people looking and feeling younger for longer.
Protect your brain
Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of becoming older is the prospect of declining cognitive faculties and memory loss. A study published in the journal Neurology found evidence suggesting fish oil may protect your brain as it ages.
Led by Dr. James V. Pottala of University of South Dakota, researchers examined more than 1,100 women who had passed menopause for the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their red blood cells. They also measured the volumes of various areas in the women’s brains.
The study discovered that over an eight-year period, the women with the highest levels of fatty acids in their blood cells had greater overall brain volume. Most significantly, the researchers saw 2.7 percent difference on average in the volume of the hippocampus, the area of brain mainly responsible for memory and learning.
This evidence indicates that higher levels of omega-3 consumption could add years of healthier brain activity.