Eat More Fish to Live a Longer Life-Study Suggests

Eat More Fish to Live a Longer Life-Study Suggests

You have been told time and again about the importance of eating oily fish in your diet. It is a great source of lean protein and helps contribute to your body’s amino acid pool. If you are still not convinced about the power of eating fish, this new study is here to reaffirm it.

A study, lasting for 16 years and using the data of approximately half a million women and men, has finally concluded that including fish in your diet may be more beneficial than just adding to your lean protein. In fact, it can predict a longer and healthier lifestyle.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Consuming fish has been recommended by different experts as a part of the nutritious diet for long now. Heavily loaded with high-quality proteins, healthful oils, and vitamins, fish is widely considered a healthy option which can be included in your daily meals.

Related: Eating Fish Can Improve Brain Function – New Research Suggests

How does eating fish help to live longer?

Oily fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Over the recent years, this oil has received a lot of attention from the medical community as well as the supplement manufacturers for the benefits it provides.

Evidence for this is far from overwhelming and scientists have already found a lot of associations. These include the potential to lower the risk of cancer, improve the cardiovascular health, and lower inflammation anywhere inside the body.

Other studies have even tried to establish possible links between the use of omega-3 fish oil and the process of aging, vision, and the mental health of an individual.

Work on these topics have been going on for a long time but because the findings are often weak or contradictory, scientists had failed to establish a strong connection between a diet rich in fish, the total omega-3 intake, and the sustenance of a good health.

Eat More Fish to Live a Longer Life-Study Suggests

Does Eating Fish Improve Mortality?

Recently, a team comprising of different researchers set out to gain more perspective on an extremely important question, “Does eating fish has any effect on the mortality risk, and how does omega-3 oil fit in this scenario?”

To proceed with this study, the researchers extracted data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. This is one of the largest studies on the relationship between diet and health that has ever been carried out so far.

Out of this study, the researchers took out the data for 180,580 women and 240,729 men over the course of 16 years.

The participants were asked to explain their dietary habits in detail after which their health was monitored. Throughout the entire study, 30882 women and 54230 men died. This study is currently published with its results in the Journal of Internal Medicine.

The main findings of this study were that the consumption of more fish in addition to long-chain omega-3s has a reducing effect on the total mortality. After having a closer look at these data, the scientists found that men who were eating more fish experienced a 9 percent of the reduction in their mortality risk as compared to those who ate the least of it.

Now, it was time for the researchers to drill down into specific causes of deaths that occurred in the group over 16 years. After having a closer look, the scientists found that the males who ate the most fish, as compared to those who ate the least of it, had a:

  • 10 percent reduction in the mortality due to cardiovascular disease
  • 20 percent reduction in the mortality due to respiratory disease
  • 6 percent reduction in the mortality due to cancer
  • 37 percent reduction in the mortality due to liver disease

These results were compared to the results drawn from the female participants. In females, the reduction in mortality in females eating most fish as compared to those eating least of it was 8 percent. Furthermore, these females eating most fish experienced a:

  • 10 percent reduction in the mortality due to cardiovascular disease
  • 38 percent reduction in the mortality due to Alzheimer’s disease

The scientists then switched their analysis in order to look at the level of omega-3 intake that had been calculated with the help of the food intake surveys conducted on the participants.

The researchers discovered that both men and women that consumed the highest amounts of omega-3 had a 15 percent and an 18 percent reduction in their mortality due to cardiovascular disease, respectively.

Eat More Fish to Live a Longer Life-Study Suggests

These results are shocking and are a great addition to the evidence for the health benefits of fish and omega-3 I in general. However, it is to be remembered that not all types of fish were found to be protective in this study.

Avoiding the Frier

While the study particularly focused on the benefits of fish for longevity, the results were not applicable to all kinds of fish, particularly the fried one. Among men, the consumption of this form of fish had no effect on their mortality risks.

As far as the women are concerned, the consumption of fish at a higher rate, in fact, increased the mortality due to cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and the overall mortality.

This is probably due to a number of reasons. For example, when you fry the fish, trans-fatty acids are produced in it. These fatty acids cause an increase in the energy density of the product as well.

Both of these effects can potentially destroy all the benefits provided by the omega-3s. The authors, therefore, concluded that the consumption of fish along with the omega-3s was associated with lowering of mortality risks due to major causes.

The findings of this study support the guidelines currently present for the consumption of fish. At the same time, it advises adopting non-frying preparatory methods.

The study does have some shortcomings. For instance, it was an observational study; hence, it was quite difficult to differentiate between the effect and the cause.

Moreover, the participants of this study did not eat a lot of fish as compared to those included in other similar studies on average. For these reasons, the results act as a welcome boost to the evidence which favors the protective effects of fish-based foods.

Nancy Walker

Nancy holds a Medicine degree and a Masters of Science MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health (MS-IDGH) from Tufts University. She worked as a lecturer for three years before she turned towards medical writing. Her area of interest are infectious diseases; causes, mechanism, diagnosis, treatments and prevention strategies. Most of her writings ensure an easy understanding of uncommon diseases.

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