Via RealAge.com -
The fragile tips on the ends of your DNA? They reveal exactly how young or old you are. And here’s the dinner choice that can keep them in tip-top shape: fish.
In a new study, the good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids found in fish appeared to help those fragile DNA tips — called telomeres — stay younger longer.
Telomeres guard DNA the way plastic shoelace tips stop your sneaker laces from fraying. But telomeres grow shorter as part of the natural aging process. And stress, body inflammation, a lack of exercise, and extra pounds can shorten those tips even faster, essentially opening wider the window to all sorts of body-aging cell damage. We’re talking extra wrinkles, gray hair, brittle bones, and even heart disease and cancer.
Enter the fish entree. Scientists suspect that the omega-3s in fish dinners (or lunches, or supplements) activate the body’s antioxidant defenses against telomere-munching free radicals. These healthy omega-3 fats may also boost activity of a telomere-pampering enzyme called telomerase. Which probably helps explain why the volunteers in a recent study — who all had heart disease and were in their 50s, 60s, and 70s — showed such dramatically different telomere length. During the 5-year study, telomeres appeared to shorten three times faster in the people with the lowest blood levels of omega-3s, compared with people with the highest levels.
And, via Dr. Frank Sacks, a professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, here are some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids -
There are two major types of omega-3 fatty acids in our diets: One type is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in some vegetable oils, such as soybean, rapeseed (canola), and flaxseed, and in walnuts. ALA is also found in some green vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and salad greens. The other type, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is found in fatty fish. The body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA.
We do not know whether vegetable or fish omega-3 fatty acids are equally beneficial, although both seem to be beneficial. Unfortunately, most Americans do not get enough of either type. For good health, you should aim to get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet every day. This could be through a serving of fatty fish (such as salmon), a tablespoon of canola or soybean oil in salad dressing or in cooking, or a handful of walnuts or ground flaxseed mixed into your morning oatmeal.
Lastly, related, regarding fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids, see this from FitDay.com -
The two most important types of omega-3 fatty acids are EPA and DHA, both of which are found in certain kinds of fish. Salmon is an infamous source of healthy fats, as well as being rich in omega-3s. Farm raised salmon contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3s per three-ounce serving. However, even though farm raised salmon is fattier than wild caught salmon, it provides less usable omega-3s and contains far more pesticides and antiobiotics. Stick with wild caught salmon, and you’ll gain all the benefits of this heart-healthy fish without all the chemicals.
Although salmon is one of the best sources for omega-3s, there are plenty of other options. Bluefish, mackerel, herring, tuna, anchovies and sardines are also excellent sources of omega-3s. It is generally recommended that fish be consumed two to three times per week.
One of the things that I started doing when I began my better health journey back in June of 2006 was eating salmon. Before then, I never ate it. Now, I eat it at least once a week – many times twice a week. And, I love it. (Many apologies to my telomeres for waiting so long to do the right thing!)