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[Voice of Hope June 1, 2023] (Editor: Li Wenhan) Have you ever wondered why some people can live to be over a hundred years old, and they are healthy and energetic? Do they have any special secret? The secret to centenarians’ longevity may lie in their guts, new research has found.
Recently, “Nature Aging” published a new study: after analyzing the intestinal flora of 297 centenarians in Guangxi, China, researchers found that centenarians have their own unique intestinal type, similar to young people’s intestinal flora structure and Higher bacterial diversity. This may be the key to longevity.
Gut flora (Voice of Hope Synthesis)
What role do gut microbiota play in health?
Gut flora refers to the trillions of microbes that inhabit our gut, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and more. These microorganisms not only help us digest food, but also participate in the regulation of our immune system, metabolic system, nervous system and other aspects.
The balance and diversity of gut flora is crucial to our health, and the imbalance or monotony of gut flora may lead to various diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, neurodegeneration disease etc.
What are the characteristics of the intestinal flora of centenarians?
A research paper on Japanese centenarians was published in the journal “Nature“, revealing the mystery of their longevity hidden in inconspicuous places.
Japanese scientists studied 160 centenarians (average age 107 years old), and found that long-lived elderly people have unique intestinal flora, and special metabolites can inhibit the growth of intestinal pathogens, reduce inflammation, and promote health.
Specifically, there is a highly enriched type of bacteria in the intestinal flora of centenarians, which can produce a unique set of secondary bile acids through a new biosynthetic pathway.
These secondary bile acids have several important roles, such as regulating the body’s metabolism and immune response, and inhibiting the proliferation of harmful bacteria in the gut.
One of these bile acids, called isoalloLCA, is a potent antimicrobial that, at very low concentrations, can inhibit certain enteric pathogens that have become drug-resistant.
Visible under an electron microscope, isoalloLCA caused Clostridium difficile and Enterococcus faecalis (VRE) to deform and ultimately kill these pathogens.
The researchers also screened dozens of strains of bacteria from the fecal microbes of a centenarian, identified bacterial species that specifically produce isoalloLCA, and mapped the genes and biological enzymes they required in bile acid metabolism.
In follow-up studies, they will further verify the association between bile acids and longevity.
What are the characteristics of a centenarian’s diet?
1. Eat more carbohydrates. In the above studies, according to the paper report, the largest source of calories for centenarians in Guangxi is carbohydrates, accounting for more than 60%. This shows that carbohydrates are necessary for longevity.
2. Eat less animal protein and less cholesterol. Centenarians consume only 12% of the high-quality protein that is always talked about. Most of the protein comes from legumes, and if cereals are the main food throughout the day, then protein is 10% of total calorie sources.
3. Take in more dietary fiber. Most of their food composition is coarse grains, and they eat whole grains, potatoes, beans, etc. every day, which form their main carbohydrates and their main source of calories.
Although their calorie intake is low, their dietary fiber content is high. This is a high-fiber dietary pattern, which makes the diversity of their intestinal bacteria closer to the intestinal ecology of young people.
It can be seen that this is a high-carbohydrate, low-protein, high-fiber, high-nutrient diet pattern, which is very similar to the Japanese Okinawa diet pattern.
How to improve our gut flora?
Here are some simple but effective suggestions:
Eat foods rich in prebiotics, such as whole grains, beans, onions, garlic, bananas, etc. These foods can provide nutrients for the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Appropriate supplementation of probiotics or fermented foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, soy milk, etc., can increase the number and types of beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Eat less high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt, and highly processed foods, which can lead to an imbalance of intestinal flora and inflammation.
Maintain a moderate amount of exercise, exercise can promote intestinal peristalsis, increase blood circulation, and improve the intestinal microenvironment.
Maintain good sleep and mood, sleep and mood can affect our hormone levels and neurotransmitters, which in turn affect our gut flora.
Whole Grain Food, Cereal (Pixabay)
In conclusion, the gut microbiota is an important and neglected system in our body that is closely related to our health and longevity. Centenarians possess unique and optimized gut microbiota, which may be an important factor in their longevity.
We can learn from their lifestyle and eating habits to improve our own gut flora, thereby improving health and longevity.
Editor in charge: Li Zhi
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Originally published on https://www.soundofhope.org/post/720686