Healthy Dieting Actually Reverses Diseases And Cellular Aging
September 20, 2013

Healthy Dieting Actually Reverses Diseases And Cellular Aging

We’ve all heard the news and the constant prattling on about being healthy. It has not become just a practiced fad through TV commercials and constant reminders about people losing weight in order to gain a better public image amongst their peers, but has proven to reverse diseases and stop them from aging into a more dangerous situation.

I’ve always been a somewhat healthy person, eating typically well and exercising some. I was skinny, and always made excuses about how I never had enough time to participate in that type of routine. A few months ago, however, that all changed when I started to read about the different ways certain foods effected my health in general. A recent program conducted by Dr. Dean Ornish (a professor of medicine at UCSF who has long studied the role of very low-fat vegetarian diets improving health) and Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn (an expert on telomere who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine for her discoveries) found that healthy eating, exercise and stress reduction not only had the ability to reverse some diseases, but may actually slow down the aging process at the genetic level.

The report, published in Lancet Oncology, showed incredible results. Based on a few prostate cancer patients, it showed that those who switched to a vegan diet, added exercise and stress reduction were shown to have longer telomeres – little caps on the end of the chromosomes that carry the DNA, the team at the University of California, San Francisco report.

“Taken as a whole, this is really the first study showing that any intervention may reduce cellular aging.” Ornish told NBC News. “I think these findings are almost certainly not restricted to men with prostate cancer.”

Well, that’s good news for the rest of us. Perhaps changing our diet may actually give us a fighting chance when it comes to diseases and even cancers? This may be something to look into.

The study Ornish and Blackburn’s team examined 10 prostate cancer patients who chose to participate in Ornish’s program and 25 patients who had chosen not to participate. All of these patients contained early stage prostate cancer that wasn’t considered dangerous.

The program consisted of a diet high in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and keeping fat to 10 percent of calories. The average American gets more than a third of calories from fat. They also exercised, walking at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week, practiced yoga stretching and breathing techniques, relaxation techniques and went to a weekly one-hour stress-reduction group session. For the first three months, volunteers were given take-home meals and gave blood samples.

“We found that telomerase increased by 30 percent in just three months,” Ornish said. Telomerase is an enzyme that affects telomeres. They also studied the gene activity. “Gene expression on 500 genes changed, in every case in a beneficial way.” Ornish told NBC News.

Five years later, the patients gave blood samples again. The results showed incredible results as the 10 men who followed the program had significantly longer telomeres five years later – 10 percent longer on average, whereas the 25 men who had not followed the program had shorter telomeres – three percent shorter on average.

Ornish’s diet plan has proved to reverse heart disease, diabetes and may help keep early prostate cancer in check. “The more people changed their lifestyles, the more they improved.” Ornish said. With the program being so easy to follow, each of them 10 men stuck with the program for five years and longer, exceeding the time they were enrolled in the study. Ornish believes that it’s “Pleasant, and comprehensive…And most people feel so much better they change their lifestyles.”

To some people this may not seem like a really big deal, especially with all the new hyperintensive technology that we have produced in the health field. But rather than sticking ourselves with serious injections and taking mass amounts of horse-sized pills, the root of the problem can actually be attacked naturally and internally through basic small lifestyle decisions. Who knew that simplicity could end up being so powerful?

Image Credit: Thinkstock.com

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