Most of us know at least one older person who seem to defy Father Time.
They are in perfect health. In great shape. They look far younger than their real age. And they somehow do it without taking any medications.
Researchers may have discovered their secret.
Scientists at Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute completed one of the world’s largest microbiota studies. They did a detailed analysis of the gut bacteria of more than 1,000 people.
The study showed a direct correlation between microbes in the intestine and healthy aging.
Researchers found that elderly people with exceptionally great health had the same gut bacteria profile as people decades younger. These “super-agers” had large numbers of beneficial microbes. And they also had many different species.
Professor Greg Gloor is a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute. He led the study.
“The main conclusion is that if you are ridiculously healthy and 90 years old, your gut microbiota is not that different from a healthy 30-year-old,” Professor Gloor said.
“This demonstrates that maintaining diversity of your gut as you age is a biomarker of healthy aging.”
The researchers concluded that cultivating healthy intestinal bacteria may help people live longer and healthier. The study was published in the journal mSphere.
4 Ways to Boost Your Good Bacteria
To improve your microbiome:
- Eat probiotic foods at least once a day. Since pasteurization removes bacteria, look for unpasteurized foods such as tempeh (fermented soybeans), kimchee (fermented Korean cabbage), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), miso (fermented barley paste), yogurt (fermented milk with active probiotic bacteria), kefir (fermented milk), and kombucha (green or black fermented tea with fruit and spices).
- Take a probiotic supplement. Look for a supplement that contains at least six different probiotic strains and at least 10 billion CFUs per serving. This is a measure of potency. Be sure to check the expiration date. Probiotics lose potency over time.
- Eat prebiotics at least twice a day. Just like all living things, good bacteria need to eat. Prebiotics are food for probiotics. Prebiotics are their food. Fuel for healthy gut microbes includes garlic, leeks, asparagus, dandelion greens, chicory root, Jerusalem artichokes, and bananas.
- Avoid antibiotics. They kill all bacteria in our system, bad or good. In some situations, antibiotics can be lifesaving. But they are overprescribed and often used unnecessarily.
If you must take antibiotics, be sure to take a quality probiotic supplement afterward.
Microbiome research shows that beneficial gut bacteria may be the key to good health—and a long life.
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