Your Health: Can your diet impact how you age?

Your Health: Can your diet impact how you age?
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 5:24 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Aging is an inevitable part of life -- but is there a way to slow down the process? It could be as simple as eating healthy foods.

“The Mediterranean diet is a great diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, all of those kinds of things,” said Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom.

A study found eating a Mediterranean diet may help prevent your brain from shrinking for as long as five years. The 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% 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 is it’s never too late to toss the junk and start eating healthy.

“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,” Eckstrom said.

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.

More: Health stories

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