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IT’S NEVER TOO LATE: Going vegan in your seventies could ward off disease

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A plant-based diet may be more healthy in old life, since it allows good bacteria to grow. Bad bacteria in the gut are linked to age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative and cardiovascular conditions, and cancer.

ALEXANDRA THOMPSON: ‘People in their seventies may benefit from going vegan, an expert has said. Professor John Mathers from Newcastle University claims swapping meat and dairy for a plant-based diet helps “feed” the “good bacteria” in our gut. These bugs typically decline with age as the gut barrier becomes “leakier”, allowing substances from the digestive tract to enter the bloodstream. This may trigger inflammation, which has been linked to everything from dementia and heart disease to cancer.

Speaking at the House of Lords, the professor of nutrition said: “A plant-based diet may be more healthy in old life. “It provides the carbohydrates for good bacteria to grow.” Fruits and vegetables are rich in indigestible ingredients called prebiotics. These act as the fertiliser for the growth of bacteria in our digestive tract. Prebiotics are different from probiotics, which specifically introduce new bugs into the gut, like some yoghurts.

Dr Marina Ezcurra, from the University of Kent, added: “Bacteria in the gut are linked to age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative and cardiovascular conditions, and cancer. “As we get older, gut microbes are more likely to release molecules into the bloodstream, which affects our tissues…

While changing your diet in later life may seem overwhelming, the experts stress you cannot underestimate the benefits it could have. “Ageing is damage to the big molecules in our body, like DNA and lipids,” Professor Mathers said. “Food influences the processes in cells and tissue that repair that damage. “Nutrition is fundamental.” And the effects could be almost immediate’.  SOURCE…

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