A growing number of experts believe the closest thing to a fountain of youth is through the consumption of the right kind of foods. Regular consumption of fish, especially oily fish, as part of the Mediterranean diet has been shown to have anti-aging benefits and one of the pillars of a healthy, anti aging diet.
Despite some claims of the media that fish and its oil has nothing to do with longevity, several studies about the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids from fish and fish oil supplements suggest otherwise.
Protection Against Inflammation and Aging
A group of researchers from the University of California discovered that omega 3s either from fish or from supplements play a role in helping human cells live longer. This was proven when they conducted a study on patients diagnosed with heart disease.
They found out that increased consumption of omega 3s correlated with a reduction in the occurrence of damage to their DNA cells. Regular intake of omega 3s is known to protect against inflammation. Due to its antioxidant activity is will also help shield against the aging process.
Our DNA contains microscopic segments, called telomeres, which tend to shorten as a result of the aging process. Researchers believe that if the process of telomeres shortening can be slowed it could potentially be a key to longevity. A study by experts from Ohio State University indicated that taking omega 3 supplements plays a role in preserving those tiny DNA segments.
This was based on findings which showed that healthy but overweight middle-aged individuals and older adults who were asked to take 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams of omega 3 supplements every day for a period of four months showed increased preservation of DNA segments, which were contained in their white blood cells.
Improved Skin Health
Omega 3 fatty acids are also known for their anti skin-aging effects as they benefit the skin’s outer layer, called epidermis. As a person becomes older, their skin cells will become less sticky, decreasing its ability to serve as a barrier that prevents moisture from being released, resulting in dry skin.
In addition, a reduction in the protective capabilities of the skin epidermis also means less efficiency in repairing itself. As a result, the skin will then start to show signs of aging such as the appearance of wrinkles. Consuming omega 3s counters this aging effect and helps skin stay younger.
Experts’ Recommendation on Omega 3 Intake
According to a report published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, compelling evidence has already been collected about the benefits of fish oil. Experts advise that people should take 500mg of omega-3 fish oil daily. Individuals with heart problems should take at least 800 mg and up to 1000mg of fish oil every day. This can be obtained either from supplements or natural dietary sources. However, experts recommend that people should ideally consume fish rather than rely solely on taking supplements.
In doing so, people can also obtain other important nutrients from fish besides omega-3. UK guidelines only recommend people to obtain their omega 3s from fish and no advice given about taking omega 3 supplements. Some excellent natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, herring and salmon.
Mediterranean Diet Foods
As it turns out, the Mediterranean Diet is one that is high in Omega 3. It is of course a diet that involves emulating the way that people eat in that area of the world. The diet became popular ever since it was found that people who ate a Mediterranean Diet actually lived longer and experienced a lower incidence of heart disease and other issues.
And at first this surprised researchers – after all, the Mediterranean Diet mainly consists of eating fats (olive oil and cheese) and wine! These are things that are traditionally thought to be bad for us. Upon further inspection it happens that in moderation – and when combined with a nutrient rich diet – they can actually be beneficial.
So what exactly is this nutrient rich diet? How do you eat like a Mediterranean? What foods are on the menu? Let’s take a look…
Being near the warm Mediterranean means being near tons of fish. And as it happens, fish is actually incredibly good for you. The biggest benefit of eating lots of fish is that it will provide lots of essential fatty acids and amino acids without adding too many calories. Fish is lean, great for the brain and it keeps you full. It is all round an excellent option as part of a healthy diet.
One of the mainstays of a Mediterranean Diet is salad. Salad is highly nutritious and provides the body with lots of iron, calcium and other minerals. At the same time, it also helps to bulk up a meal without adding many calories. One of the very best salads out there for the Mediterranean Diet is Greek salad. This meal consists purely of chopped tomato, cucumber, pepper and feta cheese with a little oil drizzled on top!
Seeds and Nuts
On the Mediterranean Diet, a lot of dishes include seeds and nuts for flavoring (alongside lots of herbs). This is a great addition to any diet for numerous reasons once again. For starters, seeds and nuts keep us full and make a brilliant snack that won’t pack on calories. At the same time, they also provide us with nutrients (zinc, potassium, magnesium) and really make any salad a lot more delicious!
Fruits and Vegetables
Living in a sunny climate also facilitates lots of berries, grapes, tomatoes and root vegetables being ripe for the picking and for adding to the diet. This is a big cornerstone of a Mediterranean Diet and is one of the biggest ‘secrets’ when it comes to making sure that you enjoy a long, healthy lifespan without getting ill!
Finally, the Mediterranean Diet contains all of the healthy kinds of fats. That means saturated fats (not trans fats!) which aid in testosterone production while also enhancing nutrient absorption and improving cholesterol!