Healthier for longer with more omega-3 (or with less omega-6)

Higher serum levels of serum omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are associated with healthy aging in adults, defined as survival without chronic disease, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, lung disease, or severe chronic kidney disease, a new study suggests. And while this seems certainly true, it doesn’t mean you must run to your computer to order some omega-3 oil supplement.

It’s important to keep in mind that the amount of omega-3  you should get with your diet to get optimal benefits largely depends on your omega-6 consumption. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have different roles, and they are both beneficial but it’s paramount to keep their ratio to a certain level. Omega-6 are important for muscle growth, hormone production and healthy brain function, but they are also highly inflammatory and they compete with omega-3 in the body.

Our primal ancestors probably ate a diet with a ratio of 4:1 to 1:4 (hunters closer to the first, Inuit closer to the latter) of omega-3 and omega-6, but modern diets are much more unbalanced and the amount of omega-6 has raised significantly in the last 50 years, up to 25:1 omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet of most Americans.

Seafood is a great source of omega-3, “We found that higher blood levels of omega-3s from seafood were associated with a higher likelihood of healthy aging and also saw that people with the highest blood levels of omega-3s self-reported fish intake of about two servings per week,” sais Heidi Lai, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, Boston.

Grass fed meat and butter are also a good source of omega-3, fatty fish like salmon are excellent while plant based food like flax seed and chia seed contain a type of omega-3 called ALA, that the human body cant convert efficiently into the active forms EPA and DHA.

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