November 17, 2016
Last Updated:
March 4, 2021

Want to Live Longer? Reduce Inflammation, Experts Say

We already know the keys to living longer are exercise and proper nutrition. But why?

Researchers at Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, may have cracked the code. In 2015, they studied various markers of health in more than 1,500 participants including individuals who were close to 100 years old, 100-104 (called centenarians), 105 and up (semi-supercentenarians), and their offspring, who were middle age and older.

They found that offspring of those who lived to be centenarians and older had lower levels of chronic inflammation. Although those levels were higher in the older individuals, those who were found to have lower inflammation had better cognition and a high level of independence for their age, the scientists concluded.

“This study, showing for the first time that inflammation levels predict successful ageing even in the extreme old, makes a strong case to assume that chronic inflammation drives human ageing,” says researcher Thomas von Zglinicki.

The scientists also found that offspring of centenarians had longer telomeres, or cells that affect aging. As individuals age, telomeres shorten, speeding the effects of aging. Therefore, scientists concluded “keeping telomeres long may be necessary or at least helpful to reach extreme old age.”

woman sitting outside with mug in front of plant

So, if you’re hoping to blow out 100 candles on your birthday cake one day, it seems the key is keeping telomeres long earlier in life and inflammation low throughout your life.

Fortunately, they seem to work together, as inflammation levels play a role in telomere length. Prevention  magazine suggests reducing stress, exercising, and eating fish, fiber, and antioxidant rich foods to lengthen telomeres (read the full article here). The Mediterranean diet, rich in all three of those categories, has been proven to be effective in reducing inflammation as well.

So keep that stress at bay, eat well, exercise—and live long and prosper!

Do you have any tips on staying healthy to live longer? Share in the comments below! 

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