Eating fruits and veggies DOES help you live longer

Eating plenty of fruit and veg DOES help us live longer

by keeping our immune system young and more able to fight infections.

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  • Study relates to the thymus gland, which is located in front of the heart
  • Gland creates T-cells to help body fight infections but shrinks with age
  • New research has found antioxidants in fruit and veg can slow this ageing 
Eating fruit and vegetables has a vital role in keeping a key part of the immune system young, scientists have found.
The thymus gland is located in front of the heart and creates T-cells which help the body fight infections.
It is quite large in children and adolescents, but as we grow older it shrinks faster than any other tissue in the body.
Its decay puts older people at much greater risk of infection.
Now research has found that antioxidants such as vitamin C can keep this vital organ healthy by stopping the damage in its tracks.
Experiments showed that antioxidants – found in fruits and vegetables – stopped the thymus from shrivelling.
In mouse studies, animals given vitamin C and another antioxidant used in human medicine experienced significantly less age-related deterioration of the thymus.
Lead scientist Dr Howard Petrie, from the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, said: ‘The thymus ages more rapidly than any other tissue in the body.
‘It diminishes the ability of older individuals to respond to new immunologic challenges, including evolving pathogens and the vaccines that may otherwise offer protection from them.
‘We provide, for the first time, a link between antioxidants and normal immune function, opening new avenues for potential treatment strategies that could improve immune defenses in the aging population.’

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