A team of scientists from CIBER Obesity and Nutrition has revealed that a healthy diet slows cellular aging.
The experts, led by researchers Sílvia Canudas and Serena Galié, both members of Jordi Salas-Salvadó’s team, have conducted a review of 59 observational studies and 11 clinical trials, selected from a bibliographic search carried out in a methodical and organized manner in order to identify, separately, the relationship of each food group, nutrients and different dietary patterns with telomeric health.
Different clinical studies of multi-vitamin supplementation have investigated the role of these compounds in the length of telomeres, but did not establish a clear protective function, although, among the studies reviewed by the researchers, vitamin C appears to have a greater impact among the micro-nutrients evaluated.
Consumption of foods with a high antioxidant content, such as nuts and coffee, has been associated with longer telomeres, although high consumption in processed meat and sugary beverages appears to be associated with shorter telomeres.
When analyzing the results of studies that assessed the overall pattern of the diet, researchers, whose work has been published in the journal ‘Advances of Nutrition’, observed that healthy diets, which include high content in fruits, vegetables, nuts, among other foods, source of antioxidants, were associated with less telomeric shortening.
A finding that, in his opinion, suggests that a healthy diet would help slow the aging of our cells.
“The health of telomeres and the consequent prevention of cellular aging involves a multifactorial process in which different factors come into play. Controlling these dietary factors has an impact on human health by preventing age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and neuro-degenerative diseases,” the experts said.
This research is contextualized taking into account that one of the main approaches to scientific research on ageing is the possibility of extending life expectancy with quality.
One way to contribute to this is to protect the cellular ageing process by modulating the length of telomeres, the discovery of which won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009.
These are long, repeated DNA sequences that protect the extremities of chromosomes from their natural shortening and can be considered as the biological clock of cell life, as their length decreases as we age.
“When comparing telomeres to reinforcements at the end of shoelaces, the longer the reinforcements, the less likely it is that the lace will defile. As for the chromosomes, the longer the telomeres, the less likely it is that alarms will go off in the cells,” said Nobel laureate Elizabeth Blackburn.