Many people come to our health blog with the question “What is good for high blood pressure?”
According to new research from several studies, regular intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is linked to a 35% lower risk of cardiovascular death in older adults; and may also benefit brain health and function in people of all ages. Specifically, omega-3 PUFAs reduced brain damage in infants after stroke, increased math scores in teenagers and boosted memory in young adults.
First, an observational study at Harvard Medical School with nearly 2,700 participants showed that healthy older adults who consumed 400 mg per day of the omega-3 PUFAs EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) + DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) have up to a 40% lower risk of death from heart disease. Also, they tended to live two years longer after the age of 65.
This study clearly shows that higher levels of omega-3 PUFAs mean lower total mortality rates, contributing to a longer, healthier life.
The second study at Columbia University used an animal model to see whether omega-3 PUFAs would influence brain recovery after pediatric stroke - which affects up to 1,700 U.S. infants each year.
The study authors found an almost 50% reduction in brain tissue loss in mice treated with omega-3 PUFAs or pure DHA immediately after a stroke, when compared to controls. What’s more, brain damage in these mice was significantly reduced for up to eight weeks.
In other words, omega-3 PUFAs may help to protect brain cells in human infants and may be useful for treating pediatric stroke.
Next, a study of 28 countries reported that higher DHA levels in the milk of nursing women was associated with better math scores in their children at the age of 15. Interestingly, only two-thirds of the highest-scoring countries reported DHA levels above the worldwide average of 0.32%, suggesting that other as yet unknown factors may also be involved.
Finally, healthy, young adults also appear to benefit from omega-3 PUFA consumption, according to a study from New Zealand. DHA supplementation was associated with improved response times for both autobiographical and working memory in these participants.
Along with supplements, fish oil and krill oil, cold water fatty fish such as sardines, wild salmon, herring, mackerel and tuna contain plenty of omega-3 PUFAs. Vegetable sources include flax seed, almonds and walnuts.
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