Written by Kevin Fagan
The health benefits of seafood have long been known. It is low in calories and high in many valuable nutrients, such as zinc. However, recent research in several countries reveals that seafood also has many benefits for the older population.
The ocean and rivers of the world have long provided us with a wide selection of excellent foods for health and well-being. Among them, fish, shrimps, crabs, lobster, oysters, mussels, and many more. In addition to being delicious, seafood is also said to positively impact senior citizens to enable them to live a more fulfilling old age. Let’s find out why.
Seafood helps you live longer while enjoying a healthy glowing body
Researchers in the United States recently studied seafood, which they disclosed to the public through the British Medical Journal. The intriguing results revealed that this special type of food would be a perfect dietary choice for the elderly by contributing to a healthier and more fulfilled old age. A panel of 2,622 volunteers, made up of 63% women and aged on average 74 years, was observed over a period of 23 years within the framework of the study. The conclusion found that seniors who ate seafood at regular intervals were 24% less likely to be exposed to the risk of chronic pathologies, such as stroke. In addition, their overall life expectancy was longer.
Seafood contains high levels of omega-3
Thanks to their abundance in omega-3, seafood contributes to the body’s proper functioning by stimulating blood pressure, cardiac activities and naturally preventing inflammation. In 2016, research conducted by the Rush University Medical Center and Wageningen University, located in the Netherlands, highlighted the beneficial effects of seafood in the treatment of cognitive disorders, often associated with the elderly. The two teams followed 915 seniors for five years. The group’s average age was 81.4 years old, and none had degenerative diseases at the start of the study.
During these five years, participants had to answer, once a year, a series of cognitive skills tests in five different areas. At the same time, they filled out nutrition questionnaires to assess their eating habits, particularly their seafood consumption (frequency and type of food). Then the scientists divided these seniors into two groups: on the one hand, those who ate seafood several times a week, and on the other, those who ate less than once a week.
To reach this conclusion, the American scientists worked with 2,622 volunteers, whose average age at the beginning of the observations was 74 years, between 1992 and 2015. By comparing the numerous health data collected in these individuals, the researchers have noted a particular phenomenon: seniors who regularly consumed seafood had, on average, 24% less risk of “aging badly”, that is to say of suffering from a chronic disease (cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, fibromyalgia…) or early cognitive decline.
A year earlier, a Chinese study had also highlighted the impact of shellfish consumption in the fight against anxiety attacks. It’s clear that these studies remind us of the importance of balance our daily meals by remembering to incorporate seafood regularly.
Eating seafood protects the brain of seniors
Shrimps, oysters, lobsters, and other whelks should not be kept for special occasions or for summer barbecues but enjoyed all year round! Indeed, they are full of particular fatty acids like Omega-3, whose positive impact on the brain was already established. The study, which was published in ‘Neurology’ an American scientific journal, goes even further and reveals a link between increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids and specific types of cognitive abilities.
For the scientists, it was a question of analyzing the evolution of the mental capacities of the elderly but also their memory, the location in space and time, the speed of perception, or even the visual faculties.
Researchers found that lovers of shellfish, fish, and crustaceans were at lower risk of cognitive deterioration than those who ate small amounts. They exhibited a slower decline in semantic memory (associated with verbal information) and speed of perception. The scientific community was already aware that omega-3 fatty acids were beneficial for the brain, but the results of this study confirmed that consuming them through seafood is even more useful in the long term. The study showed that although cognitive abilities naturally deteriorate with age, it is possible to attenuate this process by regularly eating seafood, such as lobster.
It’s clear that there are so many benefits of seafood for seniors. And the good news is, there is no reason not to eat seafood all year round! In winter, opt for scallops, mussels, oysters, or whelks, and in summer, choose lobsters, langoustines, crayfish, while prawns can be eaten all year round. Respecting the seasonality of seafood not only protects species but also costs you less! Now there are more reasons to enjoy sustainably caught seafood, which is extremely good for you and delicious!