How can people increase their life expectancy?
People have always been looking for ways and means to live healthier and longer. Our diet has a large share in our health and life expectancy. Researchers have now found that a fish-rich diet can increase people's life expectancy.
In their current research, scientists at the Zhejiang University School of Medicine found that eating fish regularly means they have a better life expectancy. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Journal of Internal Medicine" (JIM).
Data came from the NIH-AARP study
The current study was carried out over a period of 16 years. This investigation included almost half a million men and women. The experts examined data from the NIH-AARP Nutrition and Health Study, which is the largest health and nutrition study ever undertaken. The eating habits and the health of the participants were medically monitored. 54,230 men and 30,882 women died during the study. The scientists concluded in the study that a fish-rich diet leads to a longer life.
What makes fish so healthy?
Fish has long been considered part of a healthy diet. Fish is rich in high-quality proteins, vitamins and healthy oils. Fish oils contain a lot of omega-3, which is now often found in dietary supplements.
Previous results have often been contradictory
Various studies have already looked at omega-3. For example, these studies looked for possible associations that result in a lower risk of cancer, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced inflammation. Other studies have tried to find links between omega-3 and mental health, aging and eyesight. Because the results obtained were often contradictory or weak, the relationship between a fish-rich diet, omega-3 intake and good health is still up for debate, the experts say.
Effects of fish consumption on male participants
Looking closer at the data, the researchers found that the men who ate the most fish had a nine percent lower risk of mortality during the study period than those who consumed the least fish. Participants who eat a lot of fish had a ten percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a six percent lower risk of death from cancer, a 20 percent lower risk of death from respiratory diseases, and a 37 percent lower risk of death from chronic liver disease the authors of the study. The main finding of the current investigation is that eating fish and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids reduces overall mortality.
How much did female participants benefit from the consumption of fish?
A general reduction in total mortality of eight percent was measured for female participants. A reduced cardiovascular mortality rate of ten percent was also found. The risk of dying from Alzheimer's has been reduced by 38 percent, the doctors say.
Omega-3 fatty acids can protect against premature death
The scientists changed their analysis to specifically address the level of omega-3 intake, which was calculated from the nutritional surveys of the participants. They found that men and women who consumed the most omega-3 fatty acids had reduced cardiovascular mortality by 15 and 18 percent, respectively. The results are fascinating and complement the evidence for the health benefits of omega-3 and fish in general, the authors say.
The fish shouldn't be fried
It is important that these results do not apply to fried fish. In the case of men, eating fried fish had no effect on the risk of death. In women, eating more fried fish even increased the risk of cardiovascular mortality, respiratory mortality, and all-cause mortality. There are probably a number of reasons for this impact. For example, frying the fish creates so-called trans fatty acids and also increases the energy density of the end product. These consequences of roasting could potentially cancel out any positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids, the experts speculate.
Fish is healthy and protects against illness and death
The consumption of fish and omega-3 fatty acids was largely associated with lower mortality due to various causes. The results support the current guidelines for fish consumption, but better advice should be given on the preparation of fish, according to the study authors. (as)