Category Archives: Longevity

Live long and prosper. Eat cranberries!

It isn’t often that a study is published that speaks directly to foods that extend longevity. Of course we understand that our lifestyles play a significant role in our life span, as does our genetic history. But a recent study has reported that supplementing our diets with cranberries can have an influence on life span, and it’s pretty fascinating.

Published last month in Experimental Gerontology, researchers report that cranberry supplementation reduces cancer-causing oxidative damage and oxidative stress response in fruit flies. The health benefits of the supplement were significant enough to lower age-specific mortality rate and extend the lifespan of the fly during any of the three life stages of the insect; health, transition, and senescence. In humans, these stages equate to young adulthood, middle age, and old age.

Researchers felt that the long-lasting effect of cranberry supplementation is probably to to its ability to change signaling pathways and epigenetic status. The findings suggest that cranberries may be a viable option for aging interventions in humans of different ages. The three life stages in question reflect distinct changes that occur as we age. At the molecular level, these adjustments involve gene expression and oxidative damage to important molecules in our body. These stages pertain to how our cells become less able to handle metabolism and stress over time. The behavioral and cognitive aspects to aging are associated with a decline in locomotor activity, learning and memory.

Authors noted that it’s challenging to develop effective aging interventions. Often an intervention starting in young adulthood might be costly and impractical to implement and may miss interventions that are effective in certain life stages.

For example, curcumin — a substance in the popular South Asian spice turmeric — was discovered to be beneficial when implemented early in life (the health stage) but harmful if given late in late life (the transition or senescence stage). Conversely, the molecule sodium butyrate was shown to have the opposite effect by increasing lifespan when given during later life stages of the fruit fly, but not earlier.

In the current study, researchers fed a high-sugar diet supplemented with 2 percent cranberry extract to groups of 100 to 200 flies that were sequestered in separate vials. Flies that were given the cranberry supplement during the health stage had a 25 percent longer lifespan than flies that didn’t receive any cranberry in their diet. Flies in the transition and senescence phases of their lives also benefited from having cranberry in their diet, living 30 percent longer than controls.

Overall, the study was the first to show the beneficial effects of cranberry supplement regardless of age. “To our knowledge, cranberry is the first case showing that a pharmaceutical or nutraceutical can promote longevity when administered during any of the three distinct life stages,” the authors concluded. “Future studies are warranted to determine how cranberry extends lifespan during different life stages. Such studies are important because different mechanisms may be involved during different life stages.”

So if cranberries are a part of our regular diet throughout our lives, there may be significant benefits for our life span. That’s a big advantage to be gained from such a small berry. And FoodFacts.com likes the idea that we can cook with the fresh berries, or add some dried to our salads and vegetable dishes, or enjoy a good quality cranberry juice. Antioxident power. Tart, interesting flavor. Great color and texture. And now cranberries might help us live longer, too!

http://health.yahoo.net/articles/aging/cranberries-can-help-you-live-forever

Increase your intake of polyphenols and live a longer life

FoodFacts.com would love for all food consumers to answer this question: If someone told you that you could extend your life by increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, would you do it? Pretty easy to answer, isn’t it? Today we read some new research that infers just that!

It is the first time that a scientific study associates high polyphenols intake with a 30% reduction in mortality in older adults. The research, published on Journal of Nutrition, is the first to evaluate the total dietary polyphenol intake by using a nutritional biomarker and not only a food frequency questionnaire. Research is signed by Cristina Andrés Lacueva, Montserrat Rabassa and Mireia Urpí Sardà, from the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology of the UB; Raúl Zamora Ros (ICO-IDIBELL), and experts Antonio Cherubini (Italian National Research Centre on Aging), Stefania Bandinelli (Azienda Sanitaria di Firenze, Italy) and Luigi Ferrucci (National Institute on Aging, United States).

Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, nuts, legumes and cereals. More than 8,000 different phenolic compounds have been identified in plants. Polyphenols have antioxidant, antiinflammatory, anticarcinogenic, etc. effects.

The research published on Journal of Nutrition is based on a 12-year follow-up of a population sample composed by 807 men and women aged 65 or over from Greve and Bagno (Tuscany, Italy), within the InCHIANTI study. The group of the UB analysed the effect of polyphenol-rich diets by means of a nutritional biomarker — the total urinary polyphenol (TUP) concentration — as a proxy measure of intake. To be exact, UB researchers contributes to first literature references on TUP application to epidemiological or clinical studies.

Professor Cristina Andrés Lacueva, head of the Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics Research Group of the UB and coordinator of the study, explains that “the development and use of nutritional biomarkers enables to make a more precise and, particularly, more objective estimation of intake as it is not only based on participants’ memory when answering questionnaire. Nutritional biomarkers take into account bioavailabity and individual differences. According to the expert, “this methodology makes a more reliable and accurate evaluation of the association between food intake and mortality or disease risk.”

In conclusion, the research proves that overall mortality was reduced by 30% in participants who had rich-polyphenol diets (>650 mg/day) in comparison with the participants who had low-polyphenol intakes ( Raúl Zamora Ros, first author of the study, points out that “results corroborate scientific evidence suggesting that people consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are at lower risk of several chronic diseases and overall mortality.” Moreover, the research stresses the importance of evaluating — if possible — food intake by using nutritional biomarkers, not only food frequency questionnaires.

Here at FoodFacts.com, we try to get our five a day every day. We’re committed to a healthy diet based on fresh, whole foods and avoiding controversial ingredients. Our awareness of how nutrition affects our health and well being is paramount in our mission and in our lives. Today we just added to that awareness with this great news! Lets pass it on!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131009111025.htm

Eat more fruits and vegetables and live longer!

FoodFacts.com is a big believer in finding every possible way to consume your five a day! Fruits and vegetables are such an important source of nutrients for us. They really do help us to maintain our health, and have been associated with lowered risk and even prevention of various chronic health conditions and diseases. Today we found yet another reason to find even more healthful and delicious preparations for fruits and vegetables.

A new European study analyzes the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and the risk of mortality and concludes that fruit and vegetable consumption reduces all-cause mortality, and especially cardiovascular disease mortality.

The benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption are not a new discovery. However, new research confirms their role in reducing mortality. This reduction is more significant in the case of deaths from cardiovascular disease.

The analysis, recently published in the ‘American Journal of Epidemiology’, was directed by researchers from ten countries, including Spain, as part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

The sample analyzed includes 25,682 deaths (10,438 due to cancer and 5,125 due to cardiovascular disease) among the 451,151 participants studied over more than 13 years.
“This study is the most significant epidemiological study that this association has examined to date,” María José Sánchez Pérez, director of the Andalusian School of Public Health’s (EASP) Granada Cancer Registry and one of the authors of the research, explains to SINC.

According to the results, a combined fruit and vegetable consumption of more than 569 grams per day reduces the risk of mortality by 10% and delays the risk of mortality by 1.12 years compared to a consumption of less than 249 grams per day.

Furthermore, for every 200 gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable consumption, the risk falls by 6%. The proportion of deaths that could be prevented if everyone eating too few fruit and vegetables increased their consumption by 100-200 grams per day — thus reaching the recommended 400-500 grams per day — is 2.9%.

Previous studies already noted that fruit and vegetable consumption, in accordance with the recommended daily allowance, prevents the development of chronic diseases, and reduces the risk of mortality by 10-25%.

“There is now sufficient evidence of the beneficial effect of fruit and vegetable consumption in the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases,” Sánchez states, “for this reason, one of the most effective preventative measures is promoting their consumption in the population.”

A diet rich in fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality by 15%. Furthermore, more than 4% of deaths due to cardiovascular disease could be prevented by consuming more than 400 grams of fruit and vegetables a day.

The mortality risk reduction due to fruit and vegetable consumption was greater in those participants who consumed alcohol (around 30-40% risk reduction), who were obese (20%), and “possibly” also in those who smoked.

The authors add that this positive effect is probably due to their high antioxidant content, which mitigates the oxidative stress caused by alcohol, tobacco and obesity.

“As such, these population groups in particular could benefit from the positive effects of fruit and vegetables in preventing chronic diseases and their associated mortality risk,” Sánchez concludes.

All these benefits just from increasing fruit and vegetable consumption! FoodFacts.com couldn’t be more pleased! And with so many flavorful, colorful choices to pick from, we can keep our diets tasty, interesting and healthy and enjoy a longer, healthier life!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926102433.htm

Great new reason to find every way to eat your 5 a day

FoodFacts.com has always supported the consumption of fresh whole foods as one of the building blocks involved in enjoying a long and healthy life. While there are certainly other variables involved in our health and well being, diet is something we all have a choice in and control over. When our dietary choices involve fresh, whole foods and are rich in fruits and vegetables, our bodies reap the benefits. We’ve always taken the “Eat your 5 a day” advice seriously.

Today we found new information confirming that following that advice is important for another great reason – it may actually prolong your life!

A large Swedish study has found a link between fruit and vegetable consumption and lifespan. People who ate fewer than the recommended “5 a Day” portions of fruit and vegetables tended not to live as long as people who ate 5 portions a day or more, say the researchers. The study comes out of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and is written up in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

It appears that there haven’t been many large studies that have looked at the association between fruit and vegetable consumption and lifespan. The studies that have been conducted have produced inconsistent results.

For this new study, researchers looked at the relationship between different amounts of daily fruit and vegetable consumption and timing and rate of deaths in a large population of 71,706 Swedish men and women who completed questionnaires about their food intake as participants in the Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men.

The participants were followed for 13 years and ranged in age from 45 to 83. About half the participants were men. During the follow-up period, just under 11,500 of the participants died.

When the researchers analyzed the results, it was found that eating fewer than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day was progressively linked to shorter lifespan and higher rates of death in both the men and women when compared with those who ate 5 a day or more. Thus, the less fruits and vegetables they ate under the 5 a day threshold, the shorter their lives.

Participants who said they never ate fruit and vegetables had their lives cut short by an average of 3 years, and were 53% more likely to die during the follow-up, compared with those who said they ate 5 servings a day or more.

The study was not designed to look for cause and effect, so it cannot say for sure that eating fruits and vegetables actually increases lifespan. The cause could be due to other factors that differed between those who ate fruits and vegetables and those who did not.
Researchers noted that participants who said they ate fewer fruits and vegetables tended to be smokers, with fewer years of education, and bigger eaters of red meat, high-fat dairy goods, snacks and sweets. But those who ate a lot of fruits and vegetables tended to consume more calories. When researchers adjusted the results to factor in possible effects of gender, BMI, exercise, alcohol and smoking, the results did not change significantly.

Even consumption of just one portion of fruit a day made a difference in lifespan. Those who never ate fruit lived an average of 19 months less than those who ate one portion per day. And those who said they ate three servings of vegetables per day lived 32 months longer than those who said they never ate vegetables.

While FoodFacts.com understands that more research is certainly suggested, we find this to be very compelling information. It certainly gives us all a great reason to make sure that we find every way we can to consume our 5 a day. A little nutritional awareness can go a long way!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263372.php

That cup o’ Jo may do more than get your morning started – possible link between coffee and a longer life span

FoodFacts.com really enjoys finding information that lets us feel good about indulging in some of our favorite foods and beverages. Coffee is a favorite for many consumers. It helps them get their day going, it’s hot and comforting – and for many, the day just isn’t the same without it. But there have been ongoing concerns about caffeine, even for folks who aren’t sensitive to it, or have other health problems that prevent them from considering products in which it is an ingredient.

Coming out of the National Cancer Institute, a new study of almost 500,000 older adults has shown some surprising results. The study’s participants were followed for about 12 years and it was discovered that as coffee consumption increased, the risk of death decreased.

An article has just been published in Journal of Caffeine Research titled “Epidemiology of Caffeine Consumption and Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-specific Mortality” discussing the research.  It presents an exploration of the many factors that might contribute to the association between coffee, disease and mortality.

The researchers explore the relationship between coffee drinking and behaviors like smoking and alcohol abuse, the effects of caffeine on blood pressure and cardiac function, and the importance of differentiating between the effects of coffee and caffeine. They point out that with the almost universal daily consumption of caffeine, there is a definite need for random controlled trials to help identify the components of coffee, as well as other caffeinated beverages and find out which of those components can demonstrate the benefits seen in this new study, as well as cause potential harm.

This is certainly just a preliminary study, but it does appear possible that there may be specific findings in subsequent studies that can clarify how coffee – and caffeine – can be advantageous and explore relationships between both for specific conditions as we age.

While we understand that caffeine is not something we want to consume in tremendous quantities, because it is a stimulant and can have adverse affects, FoodFacts.com is very curious to see whether or not there is a real relationship between coffee drinking and longevity. Meanwhile, we’re happy to hear that a cup of Morning Jo might be doing us more good than harm. We’ll keep you posted on further studies that provide more detailed information!

Read more here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/256623.php