Why do we age? There is no single factor responsible for why we age, but research has found several important factors affecting how fast we age. These are factors we can control to a large extent, which means that we can actually slow down the aging process. I will write about the most important factors in this and future articles. Normal aging is associated with telomere shortening. Telomeres are the DNA-protein caps at the end of chromosomes which protects the genomic DNA from damage. When a telomere has shortened to a certain length it triggers cell death. Important factors influencing the rate with which the telomeres shorten are inflammation and oxidative stress (Zhang J, et al. 2016). Cell death is associated with increased expression of inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha and IL-6 in circulating macrophages, a type of white blood cell. Inflammation and oxidative stress are closely linked, and whatever we do to decrease these factors will also slow down the shortening of the telomeres. The food we eat has a big influence on both inflammation and oxidative stress. By eating high-nutrient, low-glycemic index food and reducing the protein intake, we can greatly reduce both inflammation and oxidative stress. Low glycemic index carbohydrates high in nutrients with low protein intake have shown to reduce low grade inflammation, specifically the inflammatory marker hs-CRP (Gogebakan O, et al. 2011). Just replacing 2 servings of red meat with legumes (beans) 3 days a week for 8 weeks significantly reduced the inflammatory markers hs-CRP, IL-6 and TNF-alpha (Hosseinpour-Niazi S, et al. 2015).
Hosseinpour-Niazi S1, Mirmiran P2, Hedayati M3, Azizi F4. Substitution of red meat with legumes in the therapeutic lifestyle change diet based on dietary advice improves cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight type 2 diabetes patients: a cross-over randomized clinical trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;69(5):592-7. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.228. Epub 2014 Oct 29.
Messina V1. Nutritional and health benefits of dried beans. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100 Suppl 1:437S-42S. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.071472. Epub 2014 May 28.
Zhang J1, Rane G2, Dai X1, Shanmugam MK1, Arfuso F3, Samy RP4, Lai MK5, Kappei D6, Kumar AP7, Sethi G8. Ageing and the telomere connection: An intimate relationship with inflammation.Ageing Res Rev. 2016 Jan;25:55-69. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2015.11.006. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

Learn to Eat Program:Recommendations that work. This is not a regular diet program. Learn how to slow down your ageing.

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