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How a healthy diet slows your biological clock

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A healthy diet slows down your biological clock.  You age slower and you’re less likely to develop dementia.

Although it’s not news that a healthy diet—essentially the Mediterranean diet with little or no processed food—is good for us, scientists haven’t measured its impact on our body’s markers of the ageing process.

A research team from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have done just that by analysing data from 1,644 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, who were older than 60.  Blood samples were taken every four to seven years, and the participants also did physical exams and neuro-cognitive tests.

During the study, 140 of the participants developed dementia, but the risk reduced depending on how closely people kept to the Mediterranean diet.  Overall, the diet reduced the risk of dementia by 27 percent, and premature death by 57 percent.

The tests revealed the diet was slowing biological ageing, and they used an epigenetic ‘clock’, known as the DunedinPace, to demonstrate the diet’s effects.  The ‘clock’ is “like a speedometer for the biological processes of ageing,” said Daniel Belsky, one of the researchers.

References
Annals of Microbiology, 2024; doi: 10.1002/ana.26900
Article Topics: Dementia, diet, Mediterranean diet
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