Posted on Wed, 25 Nov 15
By determining the inflammatory potential of peoples diets a research group have found a correlation between foods that reduce inflammation and slower cellular aging.
What you eat is a major determinant of how well you age but, until now, no one has explored the inflammatory potential of food and its effects on telomeres, cellular indicators of aging.
To see if there is a relationship between the “inflammatory index” of peoples diets and the length of their telomeres a research group looked for correlations between the food some 520 people were eating and their cellular aging - measured with telomere length - over a 5-year period (1).
If people had a more anti-inflammatory diet they were found to have longer telomeres at baseline. Further, a greater anti-inflammatory potential of the diet significantly slowed down the rate of telomere shortening over the 5-years. And a more inflammatory diet was associated with almost a 2-fold higher risk of accelerated telomere shortening compared with the most anti-inflammatory diets.
“Our findings are consistent with, but do not show, a beneficial effect of adherence to an anti-inflammatory diet on aging and health by slowing down telomere shortening,” concluded the authors. “These results suggest that diet might play a key role as a determinant of telomere lenght through proinflammatory or anti-inflammatory mechanisms.”
Importantly, the inflammatory index measure was based on the overall dietary pattern and the key to eating an anti-inflammatory diet is in increasing the consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, fish, legumes, poultry, nuts, fiber, and healthy fats while decreasing the consumption of fried food, refined grains, sugar, and red and processed meats (2).
- García-Calzón S, Zalba G, Ruiz-Canela M, Shivappa N, Hébert JR, Martínez JA, Fitó M, Gómez-Gracia E, Martínez-González MA, Marti A. Dietary inflammatory index and telomere length in subjects with a high cardiovascular disease risk from the PREDIMED-NAVARRA study: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses over 5 y. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):897-904.
- Greer A. An anti-inflammatory diet: the next frontier in preventive medicine. JAAPA. 2012 Feb;25(2):38