Reducing your fat intake is usually a good thing. But some fats you might not want to cut from your diet? EPA and DHA, more commonly referred to as Omega-3 fatty acids, can make a big impact on your health.
And while adults of every age should be incorporating omega-3s into their diet, this nutrient can be especially beneficial for seniors.
“Nutrition is always an important factor for physical health, but especially as we age. A proper diet, and one that includes omega-3s, can help prevent certain health issues, or at least reduce their severity,” explains John Peacock III, DO, geriatrician at Main Line HealthCare Geriatrics & Internal Medicine at Shannondell.
Although omega-3s and other nutrients aren’t a cure-all for illness or injury, they can help improve a number of issues that are more likely to occur in an aging population, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Depression and bipolar disorder
- Heart disease
Where can I find omega-3s?
They’re called fish oil supplements for a reason—the best place to find omega-3s is in a variety of different fish, including anchovies, salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, and tuna. If you’re not mad about mackerel, you can also find them in foods like broccoli, walnuts, and strawberries or raspberries. Your health care provider may also recommend a fish oil supplement as an alternative. However, food is always a better source than supplements for nutrients like these.
“Omega-3s are good for your health in any form. But, generally, we advise patients to seek nutrients from a healthy diet before turning to supplements,” says Dr. Peacock.
Whether your omega-3s are delivered on your plate or through a pill, aim to have two to three servings per week to reap the benefits. If you have questions about whether omega-3s are safe for you, or how much you should take, make an appointment and talk to your health care provider.
Dr. Peacock practices in the community, including at Brandywine Senior Living at Upper Providence. To schedule an appointment with a Dr. Peacock or another Main Line Health physician and ensure your vaccinations are up to date, request an appointment online or call 1.866.CALL.MLH.