How to stay healthy in old age?
The positive influence of a healthy, balanced diet on the ageing process is not only well known, but is also supported by many scientific studies [Moore et al. 2018, Pallauf et al. 2013]. In addition, sufficient sleep and exercise have a positive effect on age-related health parameters [Chaput, J.P. et al. 2018, Garatachea et al. 2015]. On the other hand, chronic stress and the consumption of alcohol or cigarettes are among the factors that impede healthy ageing [Karol 2009, Schou et al. 2017]. But non-biological influences such as housing, education level and social and family environment are also crucial to the ageing process,. People who want to grow up in good health should make sure they eat well, stay physically fit, get enough sleep and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. If possible, they should avoid chronic stress and maintain social contacts.
The Mediterranean diet can be considered a "recipe" for a healthy diet: It is based on a diet low in meat, lots of fruit, vegetables and nuts, fish and olive oil. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet has a direct influence on the composition of intestinal bacteria [Garcia-Mantrana, I. et al., Ghosh, T.S. et al.]. This reduces the frequency of harmful types of bacteria and at the same time increases the number of bacteria with health-promoting properties. In addition, subjects with a Mediterranean diet showed longer and more intact telomeres and lower levels of inflammatory markers were found in the blood [Ghosh, T.S. et al., Boccardi, V. et al.]. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables also reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
The Mediterranean diet can be seen as a ‘recipe’ for a healthy diet: It is based on a diet low in meat and high in fruit, vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil. Studies show that the Mediterranean diet has a direct effect on the composition of intestinal bacteria [Garcia-Mantrana et al. 2018, Ghosh et al. 2020]. This reduces the presence of harmful bacteria and increases the presence of bacteria with health-promoting properties. In addition, people who ate a Mediterranean diet had longer and more intact telomeres and lower levels of inflammatory markers in the blood [Ghosh et al. 2020, Boccardi et al. 2013]. Eating fresh fruit and vegetables also reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Boccardi V, Esposito A, Rizzo MR, Marfella R, Barbieri M, Paolisso G (2013) Mediterranean diet, telomere maintenance and health status among elderly. PLoS One 8(4):e62781.
- Chaput JP, Dutil C, Sampasa-Kanyinga H (2018) Sleeping hours: what is the ideal number and how does age impact this? Nat Sci Sleep 10(421-430).
- Garatachea N, Pareja-Galeano H, Sanchis-Gomar F, Santos-Lozano A, Fiuza-Luces C, Moran M, Emanuele E, Joyner MJ, Lucia A (2015) Exercise attenuates the major hallmarks of aging. Rejuvenation Res 18(1):57-89.
- Garcia-Mantrana I, Selma-Royo M, Alcantara C, Collado MC (2018) Shifts on Gut Microbiota Associated to Mediterranean Diet Adherence and Specific Dietary Intakes on General Adult Population. Front Microbiol 9(890).
- Ghosh TS, Rampelli S, Jeffery IB, Santoro A, Neto M, Capri M, Giampieri E, Jennings A, Candela M, Turroni S, Zoetendal EG, Hermes GDA, Elodie C, Meunier N, Brugere CM, Pujos-Guillot E, Berendsen AM, De Groot L, Feskins EJM, Kaluza J, (. . .) O'Toole PW (2020) Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across five European countries. Gut 69(7):1218-1228.
- Karol MH (2009) How Environmental Agents Influence the Aging Process. Biomolecules & Therapeutics 17(2):113-124.
- Moore K, Hughes CF, Ward M, Hoey L, McNulty H (2018) Diet, nutrition and the ageing brain: current evidence and new directions. Proc Nutr Soc 77(2):152-163.
- Pallauf K, Giller K, Huebbe P, Rimbach G (2013) Nutrition and healthy ageing: calorie restriction or polyphenol-rich "MediterrAsian" diet? Oxid Med Cell Longev 2013(707421.
- Schou AL, Molbak ML, Schnor P, Gronbaek M, Tolstrup JS (2017) Alcohol consumption, smoking and development of visible age-related signs: a prospective cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health 71(12):1177-1184.
More FAQs on ageing
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How do we age? The hallmarks of ageing
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When does ageing start?
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