Is a vegan diet the key to a healthy old age?

What impact does a completely plant-based diet have on the (muscle) health of people over 65? Researcher Jacintha Domić from Wageningen University and Research will investigate this in a large study and is particularly interested in the effect on the muscles. “Our goal is to investigate whether people over 65 can safely switch to a vegan diet.”

Plant-based nutrition is a hot topic and is receiving increasing attention among young and old. Many people reduce their meat consumption for animal welfare and environmental reasons. Additionally, eating more plant-based foods has health benefits. For these reasons, more and more people are choosing a plant-based diet. What does this mean for the elderly?

Plant-based diets can help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels, but plant-based foods also contain less protein than animal foods. Proteins in plant foods are less well absorbed by the body and are therefore of lower quality. For people over 65 years of age, it is very important to consume sufficient amounts of high-quality protein. These contribute to optimal muscle maintenance. It is very important to maintain healthy muscles as we age.
In addition to the effects on muscles, Jacintha will also investigate the effects of plant-based diets on other health measures, such as cholesterol levels and bone health. “By taking other health outcomes into account, we can get a full picture of the consequences of eating plant-based diets as we age and can better evaluate nutritional recommendations.”

Would you like to participate in the research?

For this study, researchers are looking for more than seventy people over 65. The condition is that they are not vegetarian or vegan. The study lasts approximately 14 weeks in total. As part of this study, participants follow a vegan or unrestricted diet for 12 weeks. Some participants also follow a strength training program. Before, during and after observing eating behavior, researchers take measurements that provide a wealth of health-related information. You can read more about the research or register to participate on the Wageningen University and Research website.

  • Author: Franca van Dalen
  • Source: Healthnet