Could this gut bacteria help reverse your biological age?

Are you sitting comfortably?

Feeling relaxed?

If so, good.

Because it might help you live longer.

That’s according to a new study in the US, which looked at biological ageing in people before and after surgery.

The stress of the upcoming surgery vastly accelerated their measurable biological age.

But this ageing was REVERSED in the recovery process.

They have tried similar experiments on mice too and found that exposure to stress aged them rapidly, while stress reduction did the opposite.

So the upshot is, ‘chilling out’ might be a good way to spend your spare time.

It’s a prescient study, bearing in mind that 1 in 14 British adults claim to feel stressed every day… and hospitalisations for stress-related illnesses costs the NHS around £8 BILLION every year.

Even if you don’t get hospitalised, it can do a lot of damage.

And here’s why…

Cortisol, our body’s main stress hormone, is produced in the adrenal glands to help us stay alert in high-pressure situations.

It’s our body’s natural caffeine shot, kicking in when we need it most.

However, when stress becomes a daily affair, cortisol can quickly turn from friend to foe.

  • Weight gain – when cortisol levels soar, so does our appetite. This hormone can also lead to increased fat storage, particularly around the waist.


  • Insomnia – high cortisol levels can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep, leading to restless nights and drowsy days.


  • Bad mood – prolonged exposure to this stress hormone can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and even depression.


  • Lower immunity – cortisol is the saboteur of our immune system, making us more susceptible to colds, infections, and other illnesses.


  • Brain Drain – Excessive cortisol exposure can negatively impact memory and cognitive function, making your brain feel like a bowl of scrambled eggs. (Look out for my Good Life letter this Sunday for more advice on improving your memory and concentration!)

To keep your cortisol levels in check, you can do all the usual things they tell you, like eat well, do more exercise and get some decent sleep.

However, the key is finding ways to relax.

What is it you can do each day to de-stress and chill out?

It’s harder than you think to find time and space (physical space as well as headspace) to properly put yourself into a calm state.

If you struggle with this, then mindfulness techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, can really help.

Perhaps seek out a class or online coach, so that it disciplines you to do this once or twice a week.

Finally, today, on the subject of biological ageing….

Could this gut bacteria help turn back the clock?

Last month I read an article by Dr Michael Mosely, which looked at the latest research into anti-ageing foods.

He cited a new study from China that looked at the microbiomes of 1,575 people aged between 20 and 100 years old.

They found that the centenarians who were healthiest had a wide and diverse range of bacteria in their guts – and, in particular, a species called ‘Bacteroidetes’.

Here’s what these micro-critters do in your gut:

  • Break down complex carbohydrates, fibres, and proteins that are difficult for our body to digest, making it easier for our body to absorb and utilise the nutrients.


  • Help control metabolism. A balanced ratio of Bacteroidetes to Firmicutes (another dominant bacterial group in the gut) has been associated with leaner body composition and better weight management.


  • Support a well-functioning immune system by interacting with immune cells in the gut. They help maintain the gut barrier function, preventing harmful bacteria and toxins from entering the bloodstream.


  • Lower inflammation. Some strains of Bacteroidetes have been found to help reduce inflammation in the gut. This is particularly important in preventing and managing inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.


  • Improve mental health. Bacteroidetes, along with other gut microbes, may play a role in regulating neurotransmitters and influencing brain function, mood, stress, and cognition.

To increase the population of Bacteroidetes in your gut microbiome, you need a balanced and nutrient-rich diet.

3 types of food that keep you young

Here are three kinds foods that you should eat more of:

  • High-Fibre Foods

Bacteroidetes thrive on dietary fibre, which they ferment to produce beneficial compounds like short-chain fatty acids. So include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds in your diet.

  • Fermented Foods

These are rich in probiotics, which can promote a healthy gut environment and support the growth of Bacteroidetes. Examples include; yoghurt (preferably unsweetened), kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles (fermented in brine), Kombucha and miso.

  • Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres that serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria like Bacteroidetes. Examples include Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onions, leeks. Asparagus, bananas, barley and oats.

As always, I recommend you should also limit your consumption of processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats.

Anyway, combined with plenty of relaxation, this kind of diet could potentially reduce your biological age quite rapidly!