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Wednesday May 21, 2014

RICHARD BÉLIVEAU’S COLUMN Healthy Aging – Consuming Plant-Based Foods to Live Longer!

Numerous studies have shown that a high consumption of plant-based foods is linked to a significant decrease in chronic disease, especially heart disease, many types of cancer and certain neurodegenerative diseases. This protective effect from plant-based foods is partly caused by a high rate of polyphenols, which are a type of molecule produced by plants as a defense mechanism against their predators.

To determine whether the protective effect found in plant-based foods also had an impact on the increase of life expectancy, a research team recently measured polyphenol levels in the urine of 807 seniors, aged 65 years and over and living independently in the Italian Tuscany region. It was found that people with the highest polyphenol urinary levels, thus people who consumed the most plant-based foods, had a 30% lower risk of premature death compared to seniors with lower polyphenol levels.   

These results are fascinating – not only because they confirm the strong benefits of polyphenol on human health, but also because they suggest that life expectancy of study participants could be even higher for people who consume lot of plant-based “superfoods”, which are especially rich in polyphenols. Consuming these foods, by the way, is not that much of a sacrifice! We don’t always think about it, but it’s easy to have a great-tasting a healthy diet, with delicious “healthy” foods such as berries, dark chocolate, spices and herbs, or drinks such as green tea. All these foods have been proven to be exceptional sources of polyphenols to help you live a longer life, in better health.  

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