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Western-Style Diet Linked to Premature Death

Posted May 08 2013 10:09pm
Posted on May 6, 2013, 6 a.m. in Longevity Cardio-Vascular Diet

Numerous previous studies suggest a role for diet on specific aging-related diseases – most notably, heart disease and diabetes.  Tasnime Akbaraly, from INSERM (France), and colleagues examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, predicts future aging and disease.  The team used the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), an index of diet quality, originally designed to provide dietary guidelines with the specific intention to combat major chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.  The researchers assessed data drawn from the British Whitehall II cohort study involving  5,350 adults (average age 51.3 years).  They found that following the AHEI can double the odds of reversing metabolic syndrome, a condition known to be a strong predictor of heart disease and mortality. Conversely, the team determined that participants with low adherence to the AHEI increased their risk of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular death. Those who followed a "Western-type diet" consisting of fried and sweet food, processed food and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products lowered their chances for ideal aging.  The study authors conclude that: “By considering healthy aging as a composite of cardiovascular, metabolic, musculoskeletal, respiratory, mental, and cognitive function, the present study offers a new perspective on the impact of diet on aging phenotypes.”

Tasnime Akbaraly, Séverine Sabia, Gareth Hagger-Johnson, Adam G. Tabak, et al.  “Does Overall Diet in Midlife Predict Future Aging Phenotypes? A Cohort Study.”  American Journal of Medicine, Vol. 126, Issue 5, Pages 411-419.e3; May 2013.

  
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Tip #160 - Brew Better Health
Certain studies suggest that coffee mitigates disease by reducing inflammation in blood vessels and supporting the normal function of the blood vessel lining. Coffee also is a rich source of antioxidants and magnesium, nutrients that are key in maintaining cardiovascular and circulatory health.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (Massachusetts, USA) studied 20 years of data collected on 41,736 men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and 86,214 women involved in the Nurses’ Health Study. The team found that in general, regular coffee consumption was linked to a slightly lower risk of death from any cause, and from cardiovascular disease in particular. Among women, those who drank at least 2 to 3 cups per day were one-quarter to one-third less likely to die of heart problems or stroke than women who did not drink coffee. For men, a protective effect was seen when drinking 4 to 5 cups daily.

A team from the University of Kuopio (Finland) completed a 21-year long study involving 1,409 men and women, ages 65 to 79 years old at the study’s concluding point. The researchers found that those study subjects who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day at midlife lowered their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease by 65%, as compared to those who drank no or a little coffee.

Opt for drip brewed coffee – the kind that uses a paper filter. Coffee beans contain cafestol, a very potent dietary cholesterol-elevating compound. Whereas paper filters remove much of the cafestol during the drip brew process, French press coffee, Turkish and Scandinavian preparations, and espresso retain very high levels of cafestol.

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