Older adults looking to add pep to their step may want to add a glass of starfruit juice to their morning routine. Research has associated starfruit juice with improved walking ability and lower levels of inflammatory compounds, called cytokines, in seniors. Cytokines are small proteins that help activate immune cells and trigger inflammation, which is a healthy and necessary response to infection or tissue injury. However, when cytokines are improperly regulated, which can happen during the aging process, they can cause chronic inflammation and persistent tissue damage. Published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, the study included 29 people, ages 64 to 81, who were living independently. Initially, researchers tracked the participants for a two-week control period, taking the following measurements at the beginning and end of the two weeks: levels of three cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-23, and interleukin-2), nitric oxide levels, and the distance participants could walk in six minutes. After that, a four-week study period followed in which the participants received 100 grams of starfruit juice twice a day after meals. At the end of the four weeks, researchers took the cytokine level, nitric oxide level, and walking distance measurements again. Here is what they found:
After drinking the starfruit juice for four weeks, participants had lower nitric oxide levels and reduced levels of two of the three cytokines compared with measurements taken during the two-week control period.
The distance participants could walk in a six-minute period was longer at the end of the study compared with their six-minute walking distances during the control period.
These findings suggest that the sweet and tangy starfruit may help protect seniors against some of the effects of aging. However, more research is needed to understand the relationships between starfruit juice consumption, decreased cytokine levels, and increased walking ability. In the meantime, look for starfruits—an excellent source of vitamin C—in the produce department and take one home to give your next fruit salad some star power.
Source: Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics