The CDC has just reports that the US life expectancy is at a record high of 78.8 years for those born in 2012. Girls were found to be at 81.2 years and boys 76.4 years. This milestone shows we have made progress reducing rates of death from major illness such as stroke, diabetes, cancer and heart disease. This news is exciting especially when paired with the news in the December 2nd issue of the British Medical Journal.
Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of our chromosomes. They have been studied to determine aging. Telomeres are known to shorten every time a cell divides. Inflammation and stress are thought to shorten telomeres. The study in the BMJ showed women who adhered to more of the principles of the Mediterranean style diet had longer telomeres than those women who were not as adherent. It was not directly clear which foods were responsible but the combination of legumes, olive oil, unrefined grains, fish nuts, vegetables and fruits and red wine seems to offer a benefit.
The researchers report, Our results further support the benefits of adherence to this diet to promote health and longevity. Reducing risks for chronic inflammation by working on lifestyle through diet, stress reduction and increased movement will allow for more productive years as we age gracefully.