It isn't exactly new information that your nutrition can impact your rate of aging to some extent.
For years, we have repeatedly been shown studies that indicate a healthy lifestyle, with a rich diet, moderate exercise, reduced stress and improved quality of life, can result in improved physical and mental health.
However, the research you'll see this time will surprise you, because not only does it say your nutrition can slow down aging, but can actually turn the clock back and reverse aging.
It is important to explain in advance though that this was a small study, featuring just six women as participants. Therefore, researchers suggest taking these findings with a grain of salt, but it is still worth learning about them.
Healthy eating, sleeping, more physical activity and less stress
The study in question was published in the journal Aging and featured an experiment conducted on six women. This comes after a prior study carried out on three men, which showed promising results.
This current study featured researchers from the American Dietetic Association and the University of Virginia, which aimed to study how a certain menu impacted the rate of aging, and how that is reflected in one's DNA.
To do this, the researchers formulated an eight-week plan that included better sleep habits, exercise, stress reduction techniques and nutritional guidance.
The participants were also provided with probiotics and other nutrients according to their own nutritional deficiencies while also getting professional dietary support.
How do you calculate "biological" age?
In order to understand the results of the experiment, it is necessary to understand a concept that has fascinated researchers in recent years: Biological age.
Unlike chronological age, which reflects the year you were born in and cannot be influenced or changed, biological age refers to the age at which the human body ages – something unique to each individual.
Today, one can measure their biological age in a number of ways, but the main method is through a blood test that examines DNA integrity.
These rests were likely performed throughout the entire experiment in this study.
At the end of the eight-week period, the researchers analyzed all the data and came to a surprising conclusion.
After only about a month, five of the six participants showed a decrease in their biological age, ranging from 1.22 to 11.01 years, compared to their biological age as recorded before the experiment started.
On average, the participants had a biological age of 55.83 before the experiment, but a biological age of 51.23 at the end. This means that, on average, the six participants managed to reverse their aging by an average of 4.6 years.
What's even more interesting is that the chronological age of the participants at the start was, on average, 57.9, which is slightly higher than their biological age to begin with. This can indicate that, in general, the participants already aged slower than usual and didn't have any medical problems that impacted their aging.
One caveat to these findings
It is still important to emphasize that we still don't understand enough about biological aging, how it affects us or how our own actions and choices affect it.
"This case series of women participants extend the previous pilot study of this intervention in men, indicating that favorable biological age changes may be achievable in both sexes," the researchers wrote, adding that additional, larger and broader studies on other demographics are needed to better understand this.
But regardless, it is still no secret that nutrition can greatly affect the health of the body and mind. You don't need to wait for more research to reap these benefits. Just eat more of what you already know is good for you: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lean meat and fish.