A new study shows omega-3 fatty acids might play a big role in preventing cardiovascular disease. 
Credit: Greg DuPree

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology suggests that people who eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids might have less risk of developing cardiovascular disease and could potentially live longer.

The study found the risk of death was reduced by almost a third in people who had the highest omega-3 levels in comparison to those with a lower omega-3 index. The study also found that omega-3 index was better at predicting your risk of developing cardiovascular disease than cholesterol levels were. 

Full disclosure: The study was a partnership between Boston University; the Global Organization for EPA and DHA omega-3; and Dr. William Harris, president and CEO at OmegaQuant, an omega-3 index testing lab. However, the journal is peer-reviewed, and the science behind the study was legit. 

Researchers examined 2,500 participants who were an average of 66 years old and never had cardiovascular disease. Data was gathered on 18 demographic and cardiovascular disease risk predictors and researchers measured subjects’ red blood cells, as well as their levels of EPA, DHA, and cholesterol. For an average of 7 years, they conducted follow-ups and recorded death, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease.

They found a link between subjects’ omega-3 index and the overall risk of death and cardiovascular disease. While researchers can’t guarantee you’ll live longer, they do believe that you can lower your death risk by up to 30 percent by eating more omega-3 fatty acids (1,300 mg to be exact). This is equivalent to about 100 grams or farmed salmon or four standard fish pills.

The National Institutes of Health recommends an omega-3 daily intake of 1.6 grams for men and 1.1 grams for women. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish, soybeans, walnuts, canola oil, and flaxseeds.

The bottom line: We can’t say for sure if upping your omega-3s will help you live until the ripe old age of 120, but it probably can’t hurt. Omega-3s are associated with a slew of health benefits, so we say pile on the salmon and sprinkle some extra flax seeds into your smoothie.