In a new study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, researchers found that regularly eating a diet of pro-inflammatory foods (e.g., those rich in simple carbohydrates or in saturated fats) is linked to an increased likelihood of developing frailty in middle-aged and older adults.
Frailty affects between 10-15% of community-living older adults—making it a significant public health issue.
Approximately 1 in 6 community-dwelling older adults will develop frailty, a serious condition of impaired function of ability, which carries an increased risk of falls, hospitalizations, and mortality.
Previous studies linked specific nutrients with frailty or physical function but did not capture an individual’s entire diet and its impact on frailty over time.
In the study, the researchers calculated a dietary inflammatory index score that reflects the overall inflammatory potential of one’s diet.
They looked at the role of diet-associated inflammation on the likelihood of developing frailty.
The study of 1,701 relatively healthy participants from the Framingham Heart Study found that a pro-inflammatory diet was linked to increased odds of frailty over a 12-year period.
A one-point higher DII score (on a roughly 16-point scale) was associated with 16% higher odds of developing frailty over 12 years.
The quarter of participants consuming the most pro-inflammatory diet were more than twice as likely to develop frailty as the quarter of participants who ate the most anti-inflammatory diet.
The study suggests that regularly eating foods that contain nutrients such as dietary fiber and dietary antioxidants (such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and flavonoids) may prevent older adults from becoming frail.
The team says guidelines based on an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce the percentage of older adults who may develop frailty and related conditions such as falls and fractures, which can improve their quality of life.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies about this diet may prevent or even reverse Alzheimer’s disease and findings of this traditional diet could reduce inflammation in the body.
For more information about food and health, please see recent studies about this diet linked to better thinking skills later in life and results showing that this diet can increase heart disease and death risk.
The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One author of the study is Courtney L Millar, Ph.D.
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