You’re probably aware of the benefits of including fish several times per week as part of a balanced diet. This may have led you to wonder why exactly fish is so important, and what to do if you don’t particularly enjoy eating fish!
For seniors that enjoy a tasty salmon dinner on a regular basis, tuna fresh from the fish market or canned albacore in salads and sandwiches, you may not need a supplement. But the good news for everyone on the other side of the fence is that the beneficial fats and enzymes the body needs also come in easy-to-swallow supplements.
So, these are five of the many benefits of fish or fish oil supplements particularly for seniors – for that matter, anyone over age 50!
1. Fish oil contains healthy Omega 3s
Fish oil provides good fats or Omega3 fatty acids – the beneficial fats (EPA and DHA) required by the body that help lower triglycerides – the main constituents of natural fats and oils. There is much research finding that the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce blood pressure, help with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, depression, lowering inflammation and even helping with certain types of cancer.
The body is built to derive the nutritional benefits from food naturally, but if that’s not possible, a fish oil supplement will help. Check with your doctor first however, as high amounts of omega 3s derived from supplements may conflict with certain medications.
Fish that are naturally high in the beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, trout and tuna as well as mackerel and sturgeon. Less commonly known, but also heart-healthy are bluefish, mullet, sardines, anchovies and herring. Approximately one gram of Omega-3 is provided to the body in three and one-half ounces of fish.
2. Fish oil contains coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 is found in the cells of the body and they use it to produce energy needed for cell maintenance and production of new cells. It works as an antioxidant to protect the cells and aid with digestion. There are ongoing studies into whether CoQ10 helps protect from cancer and heart disease – talk with your doctor before including CoQ10 supplements in your diet.
The same fish that contain Omega 3s will also supply a natural source of CoQ10; for example salmon, fresh sardines, tuna and mackerel. It is also found in other sources such as soybeans and soybean oil, sesame oil, peanuts, walnuts, whole grains, spinach and broccoli.
3. Fish oil for arthritis pain and strong bones
Consuming fish-oil omega fatty acids every day may moderately reduce inflammation and pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Taking fish oil is also believed to slow the rate of bone loss and even help increase bone density particularly in the thigh area, as well as the spine in seniors with osteoporosis.
4. Fish is brain food!
Our mothers used to promise we would be smarter if we ate our fish. Mom was on the right track and today fish oil supplements are thought to help with cognitive functions, depression and sometimes taken in conjunction with treatments for bipolar disorder and ADHD in children.
5. For type 2-diabetes
Fish oil, while it does not lower blood sugar levels, may provide other benefits for individuals with diabetes, such as lowering blood fats or triglycerides.
Be sure to consult with your doctor to be certain that a supplement is safe for you to take, particularly if you are taking any other vitamins or medications. Whether or not you enjoy fish as part of your weekly menu, consider adding other natural sources or supplements to your daily routine that will also provide you with the healthy benefits of fish oil.
Reference: Medline Plus: trusted health information
Alice Lucette is a blogger from Canada and is a writer for SeniorsZen.com – a free resource for finding local retirement housing in Canada.