According to a study by University of Western Ontario, Lawson Health Research Institute, and Tianyi Health Science Institute in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, extremely healthy seniors have the same gut microbiome as in shape 30-year-olds.
It is the composition of the various bacteria, which needs to be balanced, that may be the main determining factor in how well a person is likely to age. Researchers consider the diversity of the gut bacteria as a marker for healthy aging, similar to how low cholesterol is linked to healthy cardiovascular system.
Gregor Reid, professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, said the goal of this study was to look at healthy people’s stomach cultures, and then attempt to recreate the same effects through food and probiotics.
In other words, if you wish to be in good nick when you turn 80, or even get to that point at all, you have to start taking care of the health of your intestines. You are able to influence the mixture of little helpers that process your food through the food you eat and special prebiotics and probiotics.
Over 1000 Chinese participants aged from 3 to 100 years old contributed their time and biomaterials to the study. It was one of the largest studies of microbiom to date.
Why the correct bacterial mixture is important? Because microbial misbalance in the gut causes inflammation, which can spread through the body and cause various illnesses.
A study published in Frontiers in Immunology showed that an imbalance in the gut between various types of bacteria can cause inflammation. The implications in old age are enormous, as this condition could lead to stroke, dementia and cardiovascular diseases.
Dr Floris Fransen, who enacted this research at the Netherlands’s University Medical Center of Groningen, suggested that prebiotics, probiotics, exercise, and correct food are essential in preventing inflammation.
Achieving a balanced composition of bacteria in the gut would lead to healthier aging, researchers believe.
In addition to probiotics, there are foods that benefit the health of your intestines.
A study from Penn State University identified that broccoli might be one of the superfoods in maintaining gut health.
Gary Perdew, the John T. and Paige S. Smith Professor in Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, added that other vegetables like brussels sprouts and cauliflower might have similar affects.
Brussels sprouts are 3 times more powerful than broccoli in producing the effect of intestinal barrier, which was evaluated in the study.
It is the good intestinal barrier that prevents harmful to the body inflammation, which, in its turn, leads to deceases and premature aging.
When the intestinal barrier functions correctly, the digestive tract is protected from toxins that may come with food, as well as potentially detrimental microbes. At the same time, all nutrients can be extracted from the food and digested.
So, if you wish to live a long and happy life, remember to buy broccoli when doing your weekly grocery shopping. A cup of brussels sprouts or 2-3 cups of broccoli daily could add years to your life. See it as a “longevity pill”.