If you want to enjoy many more birthdays in great health, it could be a good idea to cast your line for omega-3-rich fish more often. In a 13-year study of older Americans, published in the journal BMJ, those with higher circulating blood levels of marine-derived, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids—such as docosapentaenoic acid—were significantly more likely to age healthfully than their peers with lower levels of these omegs-3s in their blood.

The researchers defined “healthy aging” as a meaningful lifespan without chronic diseases and with intact physical and mental function after the age of 65. Fish fat’s ability to lower inflammation may be one way that it promotes longevity. While the study was observational and cannot explain the mechanisms behind these associations or, in fact, prove causality, it seems enough to encourage people to make a long-term habit of eating at least two servings of fish per week. Seek out those that contain a boatload of omega-3s, such as salmon, sardines, sablefish, mackerel and rainbow trout.

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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