ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Aging is an inevitable part of life. But is there a way to slow down the process? Ivanhoe reports, it could be as simple as eating healthy foods. Aging well
Everyone is looking for ways to turn back the clock when it comes to aging. New research shows changing your diet might be the key.
Elizabeth Eckstrom, Geriatrician, says, “The Mediterranean diet is a great diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, all of those kinds of things.”
One study found eating a Mediterranean diet may help prevent your brain from shrinking for as long as five years! This popular diet is also associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases and physical impairments in older age. The plan includes lots of fresh veggies, fruits, fish, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, and legumes.
The Mediterranean diet discourages processed meats and saturated fats. A Harvard review found eating one serving a day of processed meat was linked to a 42-percent higher risk of heart disease. Foods with a high glycemic index, like white bread, can cause inflammation in the body which is linked to the aging process. Also steer clear of processed or fried foods. Foods fried in oil at high temps can release free radicals that cause cellular damage to the skin and accelerate the aging process. The good news? It’s never too late to toss the junk and start eating healthy!
Eckstrom told Ivanhoe, “Some people tell me you know, ‘I’m 75 I’m 80 I haven’t done these things all my life what good is it going to do to start now?’ and I say those are the people who have the most to gain.”
People who eat green leafy veggies often have brains that are up to 11 years younger. Blue fruit also contains brain-healthy compounds. Studies show blueberries can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and slow down brain aging.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer
FOODS FOR AGING WELL
BACKGROUND: Growing older means an increasing number of major life changes, including career transitions and retirement, children leaving home, the loss of loved ones, and even physical and health challenges. The key to healthy aging is how we handle and grow from these changes. Healthy aging means finding new things you enjoy, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to the community and loved ones. However, these life changes can bring on anxiety and fear. Many of these fears stem from popular misconceptions about aging, but there are ways to help maintain physical and emotional health and continue to thrive, whatever your age or circumstances.
HEALTHY STEPS TO AGING WELL: In a Johns Hopkins-led Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, which tracked more than 6,000 people ages 44 to 84 for over seven years, those who made healthy changes like quitting smoking, following a Mediterranean-style diet, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, decreased their risk of death by 80 percent. Exercise lowers risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers, while a Mediterranean-style diet is recommended for anyone hoping to avoid dementia as well as minimize other health risks. Lack of sleep impacts memory, emotions, weight and even appearance. As we age, the harder it can be to fall and stay asleep, but we still need the same number of hours each night. Quitting smoking shows a decrease in risk of a heart attack in as little as 24 hours. As for longer-term benefits, Johns Hopkins researchers found that quitting decreased middle-aged smokers’ risk of dying early by almost half. Finally, make it a goal to keep learning as you age and challenge your brain.
NEW STUDY ON TRANSPLANTS REVERSING AGING: Scientists at the Quadram Institute and the University of East Anglia provided evidence, from research in mice, that transplanting fecal microbiota from young mice into old mice can reverse hallmarks of aging in the gut, eyes, and brain. Findings show that gut microbes play a role in regulating some of the detrimental effects of aging and open the possibility of gut microbe-based therapies to combat decline in later life. They found that the microbiota from old donors led to loss of integrity of the lining of the gut, allowing bacterial products to cross into the circulation, which results in triggering the immune system and inflammation in the brain and eyes. In old mice, these detrimental changes in the gut, eye and brain could be reversed by transplanting the gut microbiota from young mice. The team is now working to understand how long these positive effects can last, and to identify the beneficial components of the young donor microbiota and how they impact organs distant from the gut. Lead author, Aimee Parker, MD, from the Quadram Institute said, “We were excited to find that by changing the gut microbiota of elderly individuals, we could rescue indicators of age-associated decline commonly seen in degenerative conditions of the eye and brain.”
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