The low-fat craze of the 1990s and beyond had the unfortunate effect of demonizing all fats. There are still shelves and shelves in the grocery store devoted to reduced-fat products…everything from salad dressing to cookies. Only in recent years has there been a widespread recognition that some fats are healthy — essential even — for good health. Omega-3s are that beneficial kind of fat.
It’s still counter-intuitive for a lot of people to think that eating fats, any kind of fats, could have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol and cardiovascular health. But that’s the conclusion of a study published by The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry earlier this year.[i]
Researchers from the University of Newcastle analyzed data from 276 older Australian adults (aged 65 to 95 years, average age 77.6) who had participated in the Retirement Health and Lifestyle Study. They found that on average, women had higher omega-3s levels than men, which was linked to healthy triglyceride levels and a good ratio of HDL (good) cholesterol to total cholesterol.*
The researchers commented that the study underlines “the importance of omega-3 index for healthy aging.”* (The omega-3 index measures the level of omega-3s inside red blood cells.) They also recommended more studies on gender differences in omega-3 status and heart health be conducted. One reason why women have higher levels of omega-3s may be because they eat more foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, walnuts, and flax seeds. However, sex hormones may also play a role in determining omega-3 levels.
If you want to enjoy good health well into your golden years, eat a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables and be sure to include a lot of omega-3s in your diet, or consider taking a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement.*
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.
[i] Ferguson JJ, et al. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Jan;27:233-40.