Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Dr. Michael Greger: Aging

A similar study measured how much vitamin C subjects had in their bloodstreams, as vitamin C level was considered a good biomarker of plant food intake (and hence was used as a proxy for a healthy diet). The drop in mortality risk among those with healthier habits was equivalent to being 14 years younger. It’s like turning back the clock 14 years just by eating and living healthier.

How else might we slow aging?

The mitochondrial theory of aging suggests that free radical damage to our cells’ power source (mitochondria) leads to a loss of cellular energy and function over time. According to the theory, the resulting cellular damage is what essentially causes aging. Aging and disease have been thought of as the oxidation of the body; oxidant stress is thought to be why we all get wrinkles, why we lose some of our memory, why our organ systems break down as we get older.

Basically, the theory goes, we’re rusting.

Eating antioxidant-rich foods may slow down this oxidant process. On average, plant foods may contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. Including a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices each meal continuously floods our body with antioxidants to help ward off stroke and other age-related diseases.

Consuming fruits and veggies, and not smoking, has also been associated with longer protective telomeres, the caps on the tips of our chromosomes that keep DNA from unraveling. (Think of the plastic tips on the ends of our shoelaces.) Each time our cells divide, a bit of that cap is lost. Telomeres can start shortening as soon as we’re born, and when they’re gone, we’re gone. The food we eat may impact how fast we lose our telomeres: Consumption of refined grains, soda, meat, and dairy has been linked to shortened telomeres, while fruit, vegetable, and other antioxidant-rich plant food intake has been associated with longer ones.


 

Copyright 2018 Michael Greger. First published in NutritionFacts.

.

With an emphasis on proper speed and form, a regular walking or running routine can make great strides toward improving your health. (photo: Harvard Health)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: