It is undeniably true that we live in an ever-increasing population where people are enjoying a longer and more active retirement. Well-known words from the Irish author Jonathan Swift spring to mind – Everyone wants to live longer, but no one wants to grow old!
According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million by 2060. (1) Humans live longer thanks to improved sanitation, childhood immunization programs, and medical advancement.
Exercise, diet, and better lifestyle choices also play a part in keeping us healthier for longer.
While certain foods and healthy living are known to improve our quality of life, the quest to slow down or reverse the process of aging is no longer in the realm of fantasy. Thanks to science and technology, new discoveries are being found in the foods we eat. Eating nutritious meals and snacks and avoiding toxic ingredients can also help protect the body against disease and premature aging.
The latest research by scientists has found that a natural compound in grape seeds may have anti-aging potential that induces old, tired, or dysfunctional cells to die. (2)
Cell Death Function – A Brief Overview
The human body is composed of trillions of cells. Each cell carries out specialized functions. As cells age, they increase in size and often lose the ability to divide and make new cells. Many older cells also function abnormally or lose their capacity to work at all.
When this happens, Programmed Cell Death (PCD) targets those cells. As cells die, they can leak toxins that damage neighboring cells and cause inflammation.
Sometimes, cells can resist death and begin to accumulate, causing a degenerative or aging effect in the body. Now, scientists are hoping to develop new medication using natural compounds, such as those extracted from grape seeds, that encourage tired cells to die, thus helping to slow down the aging process. (3)
Senolytic Medication And Senescent Cells
Senescent cells are older or defective cells that have stopped regenerating and culminate in the body, speeding up the aging process. They are often resistant to programmed cell death (PCD) and can damage healthy cells, impacting the immune system’s defenses and ability to fight stress, illness, or recover from injury. Senescent cells can also affect cognitive function. (4) In recent years, the development of new drugs called senolytics has been made available to combat senescent cells. Research has shown that senolytics may slow the aging process by inducing death in damaged senescent cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. (5)
Senolytics And Grape Seed
Researchers at the Chinese Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health have recently found potential for the further development of senolytic drugs. Scientists discovered that a compound called procyanidin C1 (PCC1) derived from grape seeds induced death in senescent cells. When administered to older mice, senescent cells significantly decreased and showed a reversal of organ and tissue degeneration. The PCC1 treatment also increased the total lifespan of the mice by more than nine percent. (2)
The Future Of Senolytics
While the development of new drugs using plant-based compounds to counter the effects of aging is an exciting development, further research is still required. Studies, however, have shown that senolytic medication has the potential to reduce degenerative conditions in the following areas:
- Aging spines: Age-related back pain is one of the most common complications and complaints in older people. As the population ages, remaining active is essential for quality of life. Suffering from spinal issues can lead to complications, such as bladder/bowel control, circulatory problems, breathing difficulties, bone density, and muscle tone. Constant pain from spinal issues can also lead to depression. Removing senescent cells may have an anti-aging effect on the spine, helping to improve those problems. (6)
- Diabetes:- Type 2 diabetes affects nearly 34 million people in the United States, and possible complications can include cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and Alzheimer’s disease. A risk factor for type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, preventing glucose uptake. As many people with diabetes are overweight, it is common to have senescent cells in fatty tissue. In tests, senolytic drugs helped clear senescent cells, allowing healthy cells to respond to insulin. (7)
- Dementia: New research has shown promising results that senolytics may help treat dementia or cognitive decline by clearing senescent cells from the brain. Early indications are encouraging, but further research is needed. (8)
Health And Nutritional Benefits From Grape Seed Extract (GSE)
It is no coincidence that when people are sick or in hospital, friends or relatives bring them grapes as a healthy snack while they recover. Rich in nutrients and minerals, grapes are one of the most nutritious and cultivated fruits around the globe. They grow best in a temperate climate with warm summers and rainy winters. Grapes are best eaten fresh but can be processed to make wine, jam, fruit juice, jelly, vinegar, or dried as raisins.
Waste products from grapes, such as the seeds, can produce grape seed oil and grape seed extract in powder form. Both are nutrient-rich, high in antioxidants, and may protect against disease, oxidative stress, tissue damage, and inflammation. (9)
Some of the health benefits from grape seed extract include: (10)
- Reduce high blood pressure.
- Lessen the risk of blood clots.
- May increase collagen levels.
- Strengthen bones.
- May prevent cognitive decline.
- Improve kidney function.
- Fights infection.
- May fight certain cancers.
- Help to protect the liver.
- Promote the healing of wounds.
Grape seed extract is a powerful source of antioxidants. As a dietary supplement, it can be added to soups, salads, smoothies, juices and is often used as a coating to preserve certain foods. Grapeseed oil is usually just used for cooking. (11)
How To Make Grape Seed Extract
Grapeseed oil is a popular food supplement purchased online or from many health food stores. If you own an oil-press appliance, you can make homemade grapeseed oil. Although many seeds are required to make a small amount, you know there are no additives or preservatives, and your product is natural.
To make powder or flour from grape seed, all you require is a coffee grinder to granulate the grape seeds into grains. Both grapeseed oil and extract contain the anti-aging compound procyanidin C1 (PCC1) that helps induce the death of senescent cells throughout the body.
Other Foods That Contain PCC1
As we have already learned, procyanidin C1 (PCC1), found in grape seeds, is a potent compound that can potentially be used effectively in the fight against premature aging and other degenerative conditions. In addition to grape seeds, it is also active in some other foods in various amounts. (12)
- Cacao, or dark chocolate.
- Sweet cherries.
- Apples, including apple juice.
- Custard apples.
- Green and black tea.
- Broad beans.
Incorporating the above fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet can increase procyanidin C1 (PCC1) and support the immune system in the fight against disease and infection. (13) It is also essential to avoid certain foods or substances harmful to health and wellbeing if taken in larger quantities. Sign up for Dr. Nandi’s Toxic Ingredients Guide and discover which to avoid.
Anti-Aging Foods To Add To Your Diet
As we age, our bodies start to slow down. We lose bone density and muscle mass, and sadly our cognitive ability starts to deteriorate. We can maintain a healthy lifestyle by cutting out items not good for our health. Exercising more frequently and eating a healthy balanced diet can help to slow down the aging process. Here are a few healthy tips that can help us maintain our vitality as we enter our senior years.
- Stop smoking.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption.
- Exercise more.
- Avoid trans fats and added sugars, such as baked goods, cakes, and fried foods.
Eating a balanced diet and incorporating a healthy lifestyle could add extra years to our lives. As statistics show, we live longer, and the pace of the population aging is faster than in previous years. How we treat ourselves will contribute to the quality of life, and remaining active into old age is an essential part of that. (14) Adding these delicious anti-aging foods to your diet will help keep you younger as you get older. (15)
- Red bell pepper.
- Sweet potato.
- Pomegranate seeds.
It is a simple fact that we all age. But if we want to remain healthy and active into old age, it is our responsibility to look after ourselves. Science and technology supply us with knowledge, while nature furnishes us with the ingredients we need to pursue a healthier, happier lifestyle. We will live longer and growing old does not have to be so hard.