New research finds a healthy plant-based diet may slow down the aging process

A new study finds that eating a healthy plant-based diet can slow down the body’s aging process.

The study was conducted on a large group of Asian participants over an extended period of time to determine the link between a plant-based diet and aging. But because the aging process is complex and varies from person to person, the researchers used a newly developed biological age biomarker called MDAge to measure aging in study participants to better understand it.

MDAge integrates multiple biomarkers related to body function and provides information about overall health. The tool was found to be a more accurate measure of aging than chronological age because it better predicted all-cause mortality, the authors explained.

Using these biomarkers, the researchers identified three distinct trajectories of aging: slow, intermediate and rapid. The risk of death was higher in those with a high or moderate primordial trajectory than in those with a slow aging trajectory.
Interestingly, the study also found that people who followed a holistic plant-based eating pattern were less likely to be on a moderate or rapid aging trajectory.

Slow down or accelerate aging.

The study also highlights the importance of distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy plant-based diets. While plant-based eating patterns are associated with a lower risk of accelerated aging overall, unhealthy plant-based diets are less beneficial.

Research shows that eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes is associated with a lower risk of accelerated aging. On the other hand, a diet rich in refined grains, salted vegetables and high in sugar increases the risk of accelerated aging.

The authors say the findings add to growing evidence that a plant-based diet has benefits for overall health. Previous research has found that a plant-based diet is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as improved age-related neurological health, including a reduced risk of dementia and cognitive impairment.

However, the authors note that further research is needed to confirm these findings and explore the potential benefits of a plant-based diet in different populations.

The international NGO Physicians for Nutrition (PAN) recently published a paper recommending legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh and whole grains as the healthiest and most environmentally friendly protein options. But it also acknowledges that plant-based meat is a “healthy, sustainable and convenient alternative to animal meat.”

“Our results suggest that increasing the intake of healthy plant foods, while decreasing the intake of unhealthy plant foods and certain animal foods, could slow the aging process in Asian populations,” the study concluded.

A study of the association between plant-based dietary patterns and biological aging trajectories in a large prospective cohort has been published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.