Maybe we should be focusing less on Botox and more on broccoli.
That’s according to scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who published a recent study in the journal Cell Metabolism, about the aging process.
They found that when they fed older mice drinking water with a high dose of a natural compound called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), which is found in broccoli, cucumbers, cabbage, edamame and avocado, the older mice enjoyed benefits including better skeletal muscle, liver and eye function, insulin sensitivity, immune function, appropriate body weight and physical activity levels, according to the science website Science Daily.
“We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in aging mice,” said one of the researchers, Shin-ichiro Imai, a professor of developmental biology and of medicine, in Science Daily. “Since human cells rely on this same energy production process, we are hopeful this will translate into a method to help people remain healthier as they age.”
Some good news: Americans have already been increasing their consumption of vegetables, including broccoli, in recent years.
Americans consumed about 8 pounds of broccoli per capita in 2012, according to the United States Agriculture Department. That’s almost double the amount they ate in 1990.
And Americans will keep buying more vegetables in the coming years, according to the research firm Mintel; in 2015, they spent about $54.6 billion on veggies and will increase their spending 13% to reach almost $62 billion in 2020.
“An emphasis on freshness, convenience, and nutrition can help propel sales of fresh vegetables, especially fresh-cut salad which benefits from strong product innovation,” Mintel’s researchers wrote in their May 2016 vegetables report.
That said, Americans still struggle with weight and healthy eating.
Nearly 40% of adults and more than 17% of youth in the U.S. were obese between 2013 and 2014; 10 years before, about 32% of adults and 17% of youth were obese.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define obesity in terms of body-mass index (BMI). Those with a BMI of 30 or higher are considered obese.
The U.S. Dietary guidelines recommend that individuals eat a variety of vegetables throughout the week so they’re consuming a variety of nutrients, including dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes and starchy vegetables.
For an adult consuming 2,000 calories a day, the guidelines recommend a two and a half cup equivalent serving of veggies a day.
Broccoli has other benefits besides its anti-aging qualities, including high levels of fiber and folate, which can help digestive systems stay regular and even reduce the probability of some cancers, such as colon cancer, said Despina Hyde, a registered dietitian and diabetes educator in the weight management center at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.
Also, because vegetables are low in calories, they are a great tool in weight-management because they still help people eating them to feel full, she said.
Cooking vegetables at home is often better than ordering them from a restaurant, because it’s possible to control the amount of butter, salt and oil on them, she said.
She also recommended buying frozen vegetables, which are affordable and sometimes even have more nutrients than fresh veggies, which age and lose nutrients as they travel across the country or the world. When vegetables are frozen, the nutrients get locked in because the vegetables don’t age.
Adding vegetables to pasta dishes, stir fries, omelets, pizza and sandwiches are all good ways to get the recommended servings, she said.
This article originally appeared on Marketwatch.
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