We are living in unprecedented times in the entire history of humankind. We are living longer than ever before, but at times, living longer is not synonymous with living healthier. Lack of physical activity, a sedentary lifestyle, and a poor diet have contributed to unhealthy lifestyles and an increase in the prevalence of chronic conditions and premature aging.

To help minimize the onset of these conditions, there has been a lot of interest in the benefits of substances in plants that help protect against the damaging effects of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation at the cellular level contributing to longevity. Preserving heart health and brain health is key to achieving the desired longevity. Resveratrol, olive leaf extra, grape seed extract, and medium-chain triglycerides are components in plant foods that may have anti-aging properties to help you not only live longer but also healthier.

1. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol found in more than 70 plant species, particularly in grapes, their skin and seeds, red wine, blueberries, and other foods. One of the main benefits of resveratrol is its antioxidant properties making it a food that is beneficial for anti-aging. Another benefit of resveratrol is its potential neuroprotective qualities, protecting against various neurodegenerative impairments. It does this by helping the brain remove some of the byproducts of metabolism that can build up and form plaques, which have been associated with conditions seen in advanced age like dementia.

Resveratrol is hypothesized to be neuroprotective through cellular mitochondrial protection. This means that resveratrol can protect the body at the cellular level from the detrimental effects of oxidative stress. Resveratrol may also contribute to the improvement of fatigue since it has some mild stimulant properties and can help with vigor. Finally, some of the protective benefits of resveratrol include improved clearing of amyloid peptides, reducing neuronal apoptosis.

Part of maintaining a long and healthy life is by maintaining good cardiac health. Resveratrol has shown possible benefits of improving calcium flow in heart cells, which is pivotal for a cardiac heart rate. Other potential benefits of resveratrol are reducing body weight, triglyceride levels, helping with blood pressure, and reducing other cardiovascular diseases.

There are minimal side effects related to resveratrol dosing of 1 g per dose, with a safety profile of up to 5 g per day. At higher doses of greater than 2.5 g per dose, some people may some gastrointestinal discomfort.

2. Olive Leaf Extract

Olive oil is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, and it contains various amounts of free fatty acids and triglycerides that are recognized as important components of good health and diet. Olive leaf extract is high in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, and may help with metabolism and cardiovascular protective properties. One of the many components in olive oil that has shown to have health properties include polyphenols, which as previously mentioned have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One of these components is Oleuropein, a compound found in olive leaf extract responsible for the bitter taste in olives and olive oil.

Olive leaf extract compounds like oleuropein have been found to help decrease inflammatory mediators that can be released after cellular damage either from excess sunlight, poor diet, or elevated stress. The components in olive leaf extract have been shown to decrease the circulating amounts of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory marker that triggers the inflammatory cascade. By reducing this marker, your cells in the body are prone to less inflammatory responses, leading to protection from pain, damage, all signs, and symptoms that can lead to premature aging.

Another anti-aging property of olive leaf extract is its ability to help lower cholesterol levels. Animal studies supplementing with olive leaf extracts had a decrease in LDL Cholesterol levels, otherwise known as "bad cholesterol." This cholesterol has been shown to accumulate in blood vessels, increasing the risk of having poor cardiovascular health, impacting not only your heart but also your brain. Olive leaf extract was also shown to increase the enzyme that contributes to the filling of fullness and satiety after eating.

3. Grape Seed Extract

Grape seeds and skin have a significant number of polyphenols. Grapes have been used for millennia for not only their nutritional value as fruits and need for wine but also as nutraceutical properties. Grape seeds and skin are normally waste products in the wine-making process. The flavonoids and nonflavonoids found in both the seeds and skins are the most important polyphenols that provide the antioxidant properties of grape seed extract. Flavonoids in grape seed extract have been shown to have stress-reducing compounds.

Given their high antioxidant content, grape seed extract has been stipulated to have protective effects against chronic conditions and cardiovascular protective benefits. Additionally, the polyphenols found in grape skin have been shown to protect grapes from bacterial infections. These are also believed to help humans protect from bacterial infections on the skin from staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria commonly found in the skin microbiome, which can sometimes grow unregulated leading to infections.

The flavonoids found in grape seed extract are also believed to have cardioprotective benefits, which is why drinking red wine has been believed to protect the heart as these may help lower LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol. Other cardioprotective benefits from flavonoids are believed to be due to their antioxidant properties. It is thought that antioxidants can help protect the wall of blood vessels, leading to a lower inflammatory response in the blood vessels, which can prevent scarring and, thus, maintain a healthy relaxed lumen, where blood can smoothly flow through. Finally, it is believed that the antioxidant properties can also have neuroprotective effects by maintaining blood flow to the brain, helping the brain get the nutrients it needs and removing the waste that can build up and lead to many neural chronic conditions seen with aging.

4. Medium Chain Triglycerides

Maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to help you live longer. Animal models using dogs in Scandinavia have shown that lower weight may positively influence survival. Saturated fats are part of an unhealthy diet, and many worldwide authorities recommend limiting their intake. But there are many forms of saturated fats, and many of the recommendations were derived from studies that evaluated the effects of long-chain triglycerides, which have been shown to have more of a negative impact on health.

Medium-chain triglycerides, on the other hand, have been found to have cardioprotective benefits. The biggest difference between long-chain triglycerides and medium-chain triglycerides includes the number of carbons in a chain, with long-chain triglycerides having more than 12 carbons and medium-chain 6–12 carbons. Medium-chain triglycerides are believed to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and did not have an impact on overall triglycerides levels. Medium-chain triglycerides can be taken as oil supplements or can be found in coconut or palm kernel oil. These oils have also been found to help gastrointestinal health and help control weight gain as they have been found to influence caloric expenditure and satiety, thus helping individuals stay fuller longer while burning calories when digesting them, helping with weight loss.

In addition, to help you lose weight, medium-chain triglycerides have also been found to have cardioprotective benefits, further boosting their anti-aging properties contributing to longevity. They may help lower serum cholesterol and help control blood glucose, which is important in preventing chronic conditions like diabetes. By preventing these chronic conditions, medium-chain triglycerides are helping maintain cardiovascular health and contributing to longevity. Some of the side effects that you may experience when supplementing with medium-chain triglycerides include some gastrointestinal disturbances, which can be minimized by taking them in small doses as tolerated.

Is There a Magic Pill?

As medicine continues to advance to improve our longevity, it is important to think about the quality of life you would want to have as you age. Healthy aging is more about your lifestyle and less about genetics. Eating healthy, exercising, sleeping well, avoiding tobacco, reducing stress, engaging the brain, and being social are some of the essential keys that have been associated with longevity in regions like:

  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Costa Rica
  • Okinawa, Japan

Remember to think about longevity as more than a list of things needed to do or eat, but as a lifestyle. As for resveratrololive leaf extractgrape seed extract, and medium-chain triglycerides are these magic cures to help prevent aging? No. These and other supplements may help keep your heart and brain healthy so you can stay active longer, stay engaged, and keep your brain stimulated. They will help you combat the free radicals that may accumulate with the normal stresses of life. They are four more tools that you can use in your longevity arsenal to help combat the effects of father time.


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