The essential fatty acid known as omega 3 has recently become very popular as people begin to realize the many benefits it can have for the human body. And the fact that it can be obtained through a wide variety of natural food sources (nuts, fish, flaxseed, etc.), as well as through low-calorie fish oil pills, means that everyone has access to this vital nutrient (that is not produced by our bodies). You may be aware that this healthy fat helps to strengthen cell membranes, providing better bodily functioning on every front, and you’ve probably heard that it’s good for the brain, heart, and digestive system.
But there are actually a whole host of benefits that can directly affect people of different ages. For example, fetuses are thought to enjoy more rapid brain development when pregnant mothers include omega 3 supplements in their prenatal diet. And children and adults can benefit greatly from brain-boosting and cell-fortifying aspects of the nutrient. But senior citizens can also enjoy better health and even improve certain age-related disorders by adding omega 3 to the diet. Here are just a few ways that this essential fat can aid the elderly, in particular.
For one thing, omega 3 has been shown to improve cognitive functioning, the loss of which is a common occurrence as people age. Studies on the subject have noted an almost immediate increase in attention as well as a boost in memory, spurring the notion that this fatty acid could be the key to addressing symptoms of incurable disorders like Alzheimer’s. While there is, as yet, no proof that omega 3 is the smoking gun that will help prevent or even arrest the momentum of this progressive disease, studies are being conducted on the subject. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt to begin adding a daily omega 3 supplement for those at risk for the disorder.
It is also well known that omega 3 is great for you’re the heart. It helps to regulate blood clotting and as a result, it can reduce the risk of common ailments like hypertension and coronary artery disease that can lead to potentially lethal conditions like stroke and heart attack. And the benefits continue for those who suffer from arthritis. Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that omega 3 fatty acid cures arthritis, it will definitely reduce the pain, swelling, and stiffness caused by even aggressive rheumatoid arthritis. And it has been postulated that omega 3 can also lower the risk for certain cancers, although further studies are needed.
Finally, fish oil can improve vision by preventing (to some degree) macular degeneration, a common complaint amongst the elderly population. This means that activities like reading and driving (that require strong central vision) can be performed later in life. So whether your elderly relatives are nearby or you have to make a trip to retirement communities to visit them, take the time to meet up and talk to them about adding omega 3 to their diets. It could ensure that they are with you longer and also that their quality of life during that time is significantly better than it might otherwise have been.