Yes! The new research reveals that a healthy diet keeps your cells young.
How Old Is Your Body?
Our age usually doesn’t match the age of our bodies. We can be 60 years old, but have the body of a 50-year-old man. However, it can be vice versa, too. If we didn’t care for ourselves well (avoiding exercise, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking, not paying attention to a healthy diet, living under a lot of stress), our body can be older than we actually are.
When determining the age of our body, the indicator we look for is our telomeres. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes, which consist of proteins and DNA strands. Cells divide over our lifetime, and with each division, telomeres get shorter. This keeps repeating until a cell dies. The shorter a telomere is, the older our body is.
This natural process can’t be avoided, but it can be sped up. When leading an unhealthy life, telomeres will get shorter faster.
Now, the connection between diet and the length of telomeres is finally revealed.
Research and Results
The research was gathered on 5,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 65. The research team was focused on:
- Mediterranean diet
- DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) diet
- Healthy Eating Index
- Alternate Healthy Eating Index
These diets have certain common points. They are all focused on eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Whole grains are an important component of the diets as well. Meat protein is neglected, and they enlist plants as the main source of protein. In general, they don’t advise eating red meat and advocate avoiding sodium and sugar.
Participants who followed these dietary tips had longer telomere length. The results were rather astonishing. All four diets showed similar results.
People who were on one of the diets listed above didn’t only have longer telomeres, but less chance of developing chronic diseases as well. Researchers believe the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory diet makes a perfect environment for telomeres.
Are There Any Sex Differences?
As a matter of fact, yes, there are. Scientists have found that women have longer telomeres on average. But why is that? If men followed the similar dietary principles as women, why are their cells not that young? Does it have something to do with genes?
Men are more prone to eating meat and drinking soda and alcohol. They were eating healthy food, but the amounts were not enough to reverse the negative effects of sodas and processed meat.
Further studies are needed to support these claims. However, decreasing the quantities of the foods and beverages that are considered to be unhealthy will definitely have a positive impact on your body.
So What Should I Eat More of to Keep Me Young?
The foods you need to include in your daily menu are:
- Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, spinach
- Fruits: bananas, apples, pears, grapes, apricots, avocado
- Almonds, cashews, walnuts
- Olive oil
- Cheese and eggs
- Buckwheat, corn, brown rice
Plenty of water is also advised. The Mediterranean diet even suggests one glass of wine every day.
As we have already mentioned, meat should be avoided. Generally, processed food is not part of any healthy diet. Fish is sometimes recommended, but in limited amounts.
Learn more about the diets that will keep your cells young. If you are not sure where to start, search for a Mediterranean diet. It is becoming more and more popular, especially among the elderly. More on this diet and its benefits can be found here.