Going vegan when you're in your seventies could help ward off diseases, says professor John Mathers from Newcastle University.
Mathers spoke in front of the House of Lords about the benefits of switching to a plant-based diet in old age. He said that going vegan helps feed the good bacteria in our gut. This good bacteria, also known as the microbiome, has been increasingly linked to good or poor health: it matters if it's in good condition or not.
Why going vegan helps in old age
The gut microbiome tends to decline with age, and the gut barrier becomes "leakier". And so it allows different substances from the digestive tract to enter the bloodstream. This might trigger the feared inflammation process, which has been linked to plenty of diseases, like dementia, heart disease, and cancer.
Mathers, a professor of nutrition, said in his speech: “A plant-based diet may be more healthy in old life. It provides the carbohydrates for good bacteria to grow.”
Fruits and vegetables are also rich in indigestible ingredients called prebiotics. They are like a fertilizer for the growth of bacteria in the digestive tract. We should not confuse them with probiotics, which tend to introduce new bugs into your gut.
Read more about the best probiotic foods here.
At the same talk, Dr. Marina Ezcurra, from the University of Kent, added: “Bacteria in the gut are linked to age-related diseases, including neurodegenerative and cardiovascular conditions, and cancer.
These prebiotics are more powerful for long term health than probiotics. “They change the pattern of organisms in the gut, which continues for some time after a person has stopped consuming prebiotics,” Professor Mathers said.
So going vegan is a good option for when you're approaching old age because it keeps those ever-useful bacteria really happy. And it wards off a bunch of age-related conditions.