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Low-Fat, Plant-Based Diet May Slow Aging

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Telomeres, DNA-protein complexes found on the ends of chromosomes, were shown to elongate among men who adopted a low-fat, plant-based diet, according to research led by Dean Ornish, M.D., and published in The Lancet Oncology. Telomeres are a marker of health and longevity.

Thirty-five low-risk prostate cancer patients were prescribed a low-fat, plant-based diet with a modest physical activity, stress management, and social support. After five years, the intervention group’s average telomere length increased, while the control group who made no lifestyle changes experienced a decrease in average telomere length. This is the first study to show that lifestyle changes can lengthen telomeres over time.

Ornish D, Lin J, Chan JM, et al. Effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on telomerase activity and telomere length in men with biopsy-proven low-risk prostate cancer: 5-year follow-up of a descriptive pilot study. Lancet Oncol. 17 September 2013. DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(13)70366-8.

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