Seafood for Life: A Dive into Healthy Aging • Seafood Nutrition Partnership

As we age, it’s important to keep our bodies and our brains nourished and strong. Seafood can play a central role in aging with good health. Lean protein, healthy fats, and the vitamins and minerals naturally occurring in fish all provide valuable nutrients our bodies need. Research shows people who regularly consume fish live an average of 2.2 years longer than those who don’t eat fish. (1)

Regular fish consumption is associated with significantly greater longevity and improved quality of life as we age, according to an NIH-AARP study.

Seafood consumption is associated with lower risk for:


  • 38% lower Alzheimer’s disease mortality
  • 10% lower heart disease mortality
  • 8% lower total mortality


  • 37% lower chronic liver disease mortality
  • 20% lower respiratory disease mortality
  • 10% lower heart disease mortality
  • 6% lower cancer mortality
  • 9% lower total mortality

This study, which followed 421,309 American seniors for 16 years, found even modest consumption of fish, around 1-2 servings per week, was associated with significant reductions in risk for death by cardiovascular, respiratory, liver and cancer diseases. While eating all fish is healthful, the greatest impact on long-term health was found with eating non-fried fish. (3)

  • Eating fish is associated with better brain health and better cognitive function as we age. A 2019 analysis showed 60-80 year olds who consumed, on average, at least 250 mg of omega-3s per week from seafood (about 2-3 servings) scored significantly better on three indicators of cognitive health. (2)
  • A recent meta-analysis, which assessed 27,000 people, found that eating fish regularly was associated with a 20% lower risk for Alzheimer’s type dementia. Specifically, adding a 3.5 ounce serving of fish per week was associated with an additional 12% reduction in risk for Alzheimer’s type dementia. (3, 4) People who eat fish are also less likely to experience depression. (5, 6)
  • Eating fish may help you stay biologically younger. A genetic marker of biological age (telomeres), which combines both genetic factors and environmental stressors, indicates that mature adults who consume more omega-3 fats are younger and have healthier hearts than those who do not consume much omega-3 in their diets. (7, 8)
  • Once we reach middle-age, muscle mass declines and is associated with a higher risk of falling, disability, longer hospital stays and the inability to carry out routine activities in older age. Healthy intake of lean protein, omega-3s, calcium and vitamin D as found in fish can help maintain muscle strength, prevent muscle loss and reduce our risk of falling as we age. (9, 10, 11) One study of seniors using approximately 3 grams of EPA and DHA omega-3s from fish oil per day showed significant increase in muscle mass and muscle strength. (12)
  • The documented life-long health benefits from regularly eating fish are expanding. For example, eating seafood is associated with less risk for Metabolic Syndrome, dry eyes and non-alcoholic fatty liver. (13, 14, 15)


1 Mozaffarian D, et al. Plasma phospholipid long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and total and cause-specific mortality in older adults: A cohort study. Ann Intern Med 2013;158(7):515-525.
2 Nielsen SJ. Omega 3 Fatty Acid Consumption from Seafood and Cognitive Functioning, 2011-2014. Curr Dev Nutr 2019;3(S1).
3 Zeng L-F, et al. An exploration of the role of a fish-oriented diet in cognitive decline: a systematic review of the literature. Oncotarget 2017;8(24):39877-39895
4 Muldoon MF, et al. Serum phospholipid docosahexaenonic acid is associated with cognitive functioning during middle adulthood. J of Nutrition 2010; 140: 848-853
5 Sanchez-Villegas A, et al. Seafood Consumption, Omega-3 Fatty Acids Intake, and Life-Time Prevalence of Depression in the PREDIMED-Plus Trial. Nutrients 2018;10(12). pii: E2000.
6 Grosso G, et al. Dietary n-3 PUFA, fish consumption and depression: A systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. J Affect Disord, 2016;205:269-281.
7 Farzaneh-Far R, et al. Association of marine omega-3 fatty acid levels with telomeric aging in patients with coronary heart disease. JAMA, 2010;303(3):250-257.
8 Leung CW, et al. Diet quality indices and leukocyte telomere length among healthy us adults: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 1999-2002. Am J Epidemiol, 2018.
9 Zoltick ES, et al. Dietary protein intake and subsequent falls in older men and women: The Framingham Study. J Nutr Health Aging 2011;15(2):147-152.
10 Murad MH, et al. The effect of vitamin D on falls: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrin & Metab, 2011; 96(10):2997-3006.
11 Ilich JZ, Brownbill RA, Tamborini L. Bone and nutrition in elderly women: Protein, energy, and calcium as main determinants of bone mineral density. Eur J Clin Nutrition, 2003;57:554-565.
12 Smith GI, et al. Fish oil–derived n–3 PUFA therapy increases muscle mass and function in healthy older adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102(1):115-122.
13 Karlsson T, et al. Associations between fish intake and the metabolic syndrome and its components among middle-aged men and women: the Hordaland Health Study. Food Nutr Res 2017;61(1):1347479.
14 Miljanovic B, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82(4):887-893.
15 George ES, et al. Practical dietary recommendations for the prevention and management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adults. Advances in Nutr, 2018;9(1):30-40.

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