Eat Healthfully to Live Longer
A healthful diet may help promote healthy aging. In a study involving 4,758 adults ages 20 to 65 with no major chronic conditions, researchers surveyed participants about their diets and collected blood samples. They then examined participants’ telomeres—structures on the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA. Telomeres typically shorten with age, and shorter telomeres have been linked to chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Likewise, longer telomeres may be linked to longevity and may reflect health-promoting lifestyle efforts such as healthy eating and exercise. The closer the participants adhered to eating patterns that emphasize plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based protein—and smaller amounts of sugar, sodium, and red and processed meat—the longer their telomeres. The results were stronger for women than men, but the association was seen for both. While the study didn’t prove that such eating patterns by themselves caused longer telomeres, a breadth of research has shown the importance of a healthful diet.
Source: American Journal of Epidemiology, published online Aug. 20, 2018