Food & Recipes

Fish and Leafy Greens Are Key to Warding Off Debilitating Health Issues as We Age, Studies Say

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People are living longer these days, but that doesn’t always necessarily mean they’re living healthier. As anyone who’s cared for a loved one in their last years can attest, it’s heartbreaking to watch someone spend their remaining days battling a chronic illness. According to new research, however, we can all ward off ailments that come with aging by adding certain nutrient-rich food to our diets.

Eating healthy can be easier said than done, but according to an October 2018 study published in BMJ by Tufts University in Massachusetts, people who eat at least two servings of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids per week have a stronger chance avoiding heart disease, dementia, and cancer after the age of 65. Although the “healthy fats” can also be found in foods like nuts and flaxseed oil, the omega-3 in seafood appeared to give the biggest boost. The research was conducted over two decades, and it observed 2,600 older adults before coming to this promising conclusion. If you’re not a fan of fishy dishes, you can talk to your doctor about adding omega-3 supplements to your daily routine.

Another recent study from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia focused on maintaining eyesight and avoiding age-related macular degeneration. The common condition leads to blurred vision and a loss of sight at the center of the field of vision. This time, researchers observed more than 2,000 individuals over the age of 49 and kept tabs on them over a 15-year period.

They found that a diet with more nitrate-rich foods, like leafy greens and other vegetables, led to a 35 percent lower risk of declining eyesight. The study’s lead researcher, associate professor Bamini Gopinat, explained in a press release, “Essentially we found that people who ate 100 to 142 milligrams of vegetable nitrates every day had a reduced risk of developing early signs of macular degeneration compared with people who ate fewer nitrates.” As an example, the research lists spinach as containing approximately 20 milligrams of nitrate per 100 grams, making it an especially beneficial choice.

Is anyone else craving a salmon salad right about now? Or maybe you’d prefer a tuna sandwich with plenty of leafy greens piled on top. There are so many delicious ways we can all eat our way to a longer, healthier life by adding more omegas and nitrates to our diet. Chances are, you’ve probably already gotten a head start with your favorite recipes anyhow!

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