As my clinic is the called the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity, there is a focus on the science of healthspan and lifespan. Measuring and halting or reversing vascular (arterial) aging is a key feature of our daily practice at the clinic. Therefore, hew scientific studies that point to strategies to slow aging are of interest.
Aging is a dynamic and heterogeneous process that may better be captured by trajectories of aging biomarkers. Biological age (measured by various tests including vascular age tests like a carotid IMT and a heart calcium CT scan) has been advocated as a better biomarker of aging than chronological age (the age based on your birthdate). Plant-based dietary patterns have been found to be linked to aging. However, the associations of biological age trajectories with mortality and plant-based dietary patterns remained unclear.
The authors of a new study identified distinctive aging trajectory (measures of how fast aging is occurring) groups among 12,784 participants based on a recently developed biological aging measure acquired at four-time points within an 8-year period.
They then examined associations between aging trajectories and adherence to plant-based dietary patterns assessed by overall plant-based diet index (PDI), healthful PDI (hPDI), and unhealthful PDI (uPDI) among 10,191 participants who had complete data on dietary intake using models were applied to investigate the association between aging trajectories and all-cause mortality.
The authors identified three different groups of accelerated aging trajectories: slow aging, medium-degree, and high-degree accelerated aging trajectories.
Participants who had higher healthy PDI had lower odds of being in medium-degree (27% lower for the healthyPDI) or high-degree (38% lower for the healthy PDI) accelerated aging trajectories.
Participants in the highest quintile of unhealthy PDI were more likely to be in medium-degree or high-degree accelerated aging trajectories (unhealthy plant diets are really unhealthy!).
With a mean follow-up time of 8.4 years and 803 (6.28%) participants died by the end of follow-up.
The authors found that participants in medium-degree or high-degree accelerated aging trajectory groups had higher risks of death than those in the slow aging trajectory. Those eating healthy plant diets were most likely to have slow aging measurements.
These scientists found that adopting a plant-based dietary pattern, especially when rich in healthful plant foods, was associated with substantially lowered pace of aging and mortality.
This study joins hundreds of others indication that your plate must be colorful, varied, and full of whole plant foods ranging from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes as close to nature as possible.
While more expensive and riskier strategies are studied to slow or halt aging, a healthy plant diet remains the first choice along with sleep quality, regular fitness, stress management, and regular heart check ups for advanced labs and vascular age tests like the carotid IMT ultrasound and heart CT scans with or without contrast administration.