Reducing your calorie intake by around 30 percent could yield all these benefits, say scientists from the Salk Institute's Gene Expression Laboratory.
Although other researchers have seen similar benefits, the Salk team is one of the first to see the effects of a reduced diet at the cellular level. Around 57 percent of age-related changes in cell composition weren't visible while eating fewer calories. Cells and genes most affected by the diet helped control the immune system, inflammation—a common response in many chronic diseases, from heart problems, diabetes and cancer—and lipid metabolism. The number of immune cells in particular "dramatically increased", the researchers found.
The tests were carried out on laboratory rats, which were fed either a standard diet or one that reduced calorie intake by around 30 percent. The age of the rats was between 16 and 27 months, the human equivalent of dieting from the age of 50 to 70.