A major 16-year study, that considered data of a staggering half a million people, revealed that fish consumption is associated with longer lifespan.
Nevertheless, fish consumption is always recommended as an important part of healthy eating. Rich in proteins, vitamins and high-quality oils, fish is indeed a healthful choice.
Oily fishes are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and the fish oil has garnered lots of attention from supplement manufacturers and medical researchers. Scientists have already established its association with reduced risk of cancer, better cardiovascular health and lowered inflammation.
A few other studies have looked for the association between omega-3 consumption and aging, mental health and vision. However, these findings are most of the times, contradictory or with some limitations or other. The link between a diet rich in fishes and overall health is still debatable and far from being conclusive.
How Fishes Help Reduce The Mortality?
The scientists analyzed the data from the largest study on health and diet conducted till date, known as NIH‐AARP Diet and Health Study . They herein followed 240,729 males and 180,580 females for 16 years.
These participants provided all the key information about their regular dietary habits. Their health was periodically monitored. During the study, 5Fish Consumption Might Increase Your Life-Span, A Study Reveals4,230 men and 30,882 women passed away. These results were published recently in the Journal of Internal Medicine.
The study revealed that consuming fish and omega-3s actually reduce a person’s total mortality risk. The researchers also found that men, who consumed fish regularly, had almost 9% lesser mortality risk than, who did not consume it regularly.
When the researchers looked into specific causes of mortality, they observed that men who ate fish the most had:
- 10% reduced mortality risk due to cardiovascular diseases
- 6% reduced mortality risk due to cancer
- 20% reduced mortality risk due to respiratory diseases
- 37% reduced mortality risk due to chronic liver disease
Comparing the highest fish consumers and lowest among female participants, the researchers observed an 8% reduction in their overall mortality. Additionally, they had:
- 10% reduction in mortality risk due to cardiovascular disease
- 38% reduction in mortality risk due to Alzheimer’s disease
The scientists specifically analyzed how omega-3 intake affected the participants’ mortality. They discovered that males and females, who consumed omega-3s the most, had 15% and 18% reduced mortality risk due to cardiovascular diseases, respectively.
These results are indeed intriguing and another evidence for highlighting the health benefits of omega-3s and fish. However, it is important to note that not all the fishes provided this benefit.
Avoid Fried Fish
These results are not applicable to fried fish consumption. Among male participants, who consumed fried fish, had zero impact on their mortality risk. Among female participants, high fried fish consumption somehow amplified the risk of respiratory disease mortality, cardiovascular mortality and overall mortality.
This is due to various reasons. Frying fish creates certain trans-fatty acids and also boosts the energy density of the resultant product. All of these could potentially subvert any health benefit due to presence of omega-3s in fishes.
The study however has some shortfalls. For example, it was rather difficult to develop the cause and effect relation as the study was merely observational. Also, the participants did not consume lots of fish as compared to participants in other studies.
However, it was the largest study ever conducted to investigate the association between dietary fish and mortality. The long follow-up of the participants was the key. Also, high number of deaths also made the analysis more robust.
Due to all the above-mentioned reasons, it is never too much to re-iterate the protective benefits of fish consumption. So, expect more from fish, every time you have it in your plate!