How Whole, Plant-Based Foods May Promote Healthy AgeingPosted on
Ageing is inevitable because it's a natural part of life. That's why so much of it is out of our control. But what if you could delay it?
You may have heard about a vegan diet. It's higher in fibre, it can lower your risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, and even protect against certain cancers.
But research is now suggesting that a whole foods plant-based diet may help us live longer! Read on to learn more about ageing and how plant-based foods can make a lasting difference in your life.
The Healing Power of Plants
Plant-based foods have a particular impact on ageing and longevity for two main reasons. 1) They are full of water. Being dehydrated can highlight wrinkles and impact overall health which affects how we age. 2) They maximise antioxidant levels within our cells by providing important nutrients like vitamins A,C and E. Why is that important?
This allows for harmful carcinogens to be eliminated in the bloodstream. If not, carcinogens can damage our DNA, which can impact biological processes like ageing and age-related diseases like cancer. What does that mean?
When cells age, we do
Ageing is the slow-down of cellular activity, to put it into simple terms. When cells die, they’re able to replace themselves but only when there’s enough DNA available. Once a cell loses too much DNA, they will die off.
Even though diseases like cancer can develop at any age, it’s more likely to happen in older populations whose cells are more damaged as a result of living a longer life. What’s causing the damage though?
Much of cellular ageing is controlled by telomeres, which are cap-like structures that protect your DNA each time your cells divide. So as you age, telomeres shorten. Research shows that longer telomeres are linked to a longer lifespan, slower ageing, and less likelihood of developing diseases.
What is a whole foods plant-based diet, and how does it help?
There is evidence that a whole foods plant-based diet can actually lengthen telomeres. What do we mean by a whole foods plant-based diet? We’re not referring to a vegan diet necessarily, because a whole foods plant-based diet avoids processed foods like oil, refined sugar, refined flour, and so on.
One such study tracked the telomeres of 4,500 women on a nearly 100% whole foods plant-based diet and found that those who adhered had longer telomeres than those who did not. It could be this distinction that can help delay the ageing process, reduce the risk of age-associated diseases, and increase a person’s life expectancy.
Of course, veganism has its own health benefits. Eating large amounts of meat and dairy isn’t how our bodies can thrive and fight off disease. The main takeaway is that it can be even more beneficial to your health!
Blue zones are regions in the world where the population lives measurably longer than average. The most famous examples include Loma Linda, California and Okinawa, Japan.
Not only do both of these populations eat plant-based the vast majority of time, they also exercise moderately and don’t smoke.
The Okinawan diet is 98% plant-based and includes staples like sweet potatoes, kelp, bamboo shoots, rice, wheat, tofu, tea, okra, and so on.
The diet in Loma Linda can be described as the ‘garden of Eden’ diet as it is primarily a whole foods plant-based diet.
Keep these five foods in mind next time you eat! They have powerful benefits for our skin to glow and flourish throughout our lives.
Green tea.Green tea contains a polyphenol (an organic compound) called EGCG which is known to promote skin rejuvenation
Lemons.Lemons contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is a building block for collagen production- the main component of skin
Almonds.Almonds contain healthy fats and nutrients like vitamin E to help reduce the formation of wrinkles
Walnuts.Just like almonds, walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein for healthy, glowing skin
Carrots.Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which your body eventually converts to vitamin A- a powerful antioxidant that has shown to slow cellular ageing in your skin in particular
Indian foods are naturally whole and full of plants
In the Indian diet, dishes like raita, daal, and kosambri (when prepared vegan) are great examples of how foods we eat on a daily basis are healthier for us.
To go from an Indian vegan diet to a whole foods plant-based Indian diet, ingredients like refined oil and maida should be avoided for even more health benefits.
While vegan diets can offer live-saving benefits, it's widely believed that eating a plant-based diet can be expensive. But in fact, a whole foods plant-based diet is as inexpensive as it gets.
So next time someone mentions it's expensive, you can show them this blog post. It’ll soon become clear that anyone can save on healthcare costs later on in life! Indeed, it pays off to be vegan, and it will never come at the cost of an animal’s life.