By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach - information sourced from Science Daily
How we age is very much dependant on how well we take care of ourselves and the degree of chronic low-grade inflammation in the body.
Inflammaging occurs in the absence of any specific infection and represents a significant risk factor for morbidity and mortality in the elderly. It is linked to many age related diseases including arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration, frailty, and impaired brain function.
It's a well-established fact that diet plays a huge role in how well or how badly we age. Highly processed carbohydrates, sugar, junk food and excessive alcohol act like a wrecking ball inside the body while a mostly natural diet with plenty of fresh produce, lean meat, poultry, oily fish and good fats help to reduce inflammation.
That fact is long established, however new research suggests that a diet high in soluble fibre diet may protect immune cells in the brain (microglia) from becoming chronically inflamed, and leading to impaired cognitive and motor function.
Dietary fibre from plant foods helps to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. When bacteria in the gut digest fibre short-chain-fatty-acids (SCFAs), and various by-products including a chemical substance called butyrate are produced. Butyrate administered pharmacologically has been shown in studies to reduce inflammation on microglia in mice and improve memory, but up until recently no research had been done to test whether this chemical produced naturally as a by-product of digested fibre would have the same effect.
The exciting news is that it does: Tested on mice, a diet that is high in soluble fibre from plant foods raised butyrate and other short-chain-fatty-acids in the blood of all the mice tested, young and old. The high fibre diet significantly reduced intestinal inflammation in old mice and reduced inflammation in the brain.
Up until now these studies have been conducted on mice however researchers are comfortable about extending their findings to humans and are excited about the potential results.
Research suggests that older adults consume 40 percent less dietary fibre than the recommended dietary intake. Aside from the obvious consequences, such as constipation and digestive discomfort science now suggests it impacts connections to brain health and inflammation in general.
Take home message - Eat more soluble fibre
Soluble fibre is found in most plants foods and includes both fresh and dried beans, oats, barley, citrus fruits, apples, strawberries, peas, potatoes, and some non-starchy vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, okra, and asparagus.
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