A healthy diet could be better at slowing down ageing than medicine, says study

It turns out that a balanced diet could be a more effective way to lower your chance of developing age-related diseases

Man looks happy as he eats a healthy meal
(Image credit: Getty)

As we age our bodies become more at risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke or diabetes. However, there are plenty of ways to protect our health such as maintaining a balanced diet. A recent scientific study suggests nutrition could be more beneficial at fighting ageing than medicine.

While there are pills like the best vitamins for women over 50 which adults can take to help protect their health, researchers at the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre have discovered that your diet and certain combinations of food types might play an important protective role against ageing.

The study published in the Cell Metabolism journal was carried out on mice whereby the scientists tested on them 40 different treatments of varying amounts of protein, fat and carbohydrate balance, calories and medicine content. 

Their aim was to analyze the impact of anti-ageing drugs on the liver - an organ that is important to the regulation of our metabolism.

Senior author and Academic Director of the Charles Perkins Centre, Professor Stephen Simpson said, "We discovered dietary composition had a far more powerful effect than drugs, which largely dampened responses to diet rather than reshaped them."

Though the study was carried out on mice Professor Simpson noted that humans and mice essentially share the same nutrient-signalling pathways.

Doctor fills out a health check on a clipboard

(Image credit: Getty)

Another interesting discovery made by the team of scientists was that calorie intake and balance of macronutrients, e.g. fats, carbohydrate and protein, had a significant impact on the liver. They both have an effect on the functioning of cells, a fundamental process that happens in the body.

Take protein as an example. The level of protein we eat impacts activity in the mitochondria, a part of cells that produce energy. 

To take this further, the amount of protein and dietary energy consumed affects how well our cells translate their genes into the different proteins required to ensure cells can function and make new cells. This is all linked to ageing.

Professor Simpson concluded, "We all know what we eat influences our health, but this study showed how food can dramatically influence many of the processes operating in our cells," adding, "This gives us insights into how diet impacts health and ageing."

Clearly, a healthy diet can only benefit our health and help to prevent age-related diseases. Our guide on how to eat healthily provides a good starting point for anyone looking to improve their diet. 

If you're concerned about lacking certain food groups such as protein that was mentioned in the study above you can find a best protein powder to make sure you are getting enough of this important macronutrient as you grow older.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.