In a world where health and vitality are paramount, veganism has emerged as a powerful lifestyle choice with far-reaching benefits. And as our years gracefully unfold, many are discovering the profound impact plant-based living has on the aging process, because for many, embracing a vegan lifestyle isn’t just about ethical choices or dietary preferences; it’s a holistic approach to well-being that can enhance both physical and mental health as we journey through the stages of life.

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From bolstering cardiovascular health to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, the advantages of a plant-based diet extend far beyond mere sustenance.

Does meat age you faster?

Over 6 million Americans grapple with Alzheimer’s, and projections indicate a 50 percent surge of these numbers by 2038. This forecast prompted researchers William Grant and Steven Blake to explore the link between diet and Alzheimer’s risk. Their study, recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, underscores the impact of dietary choices on aging. By synthesizing various evidence, Grant and Blake highlighted the benefits of a diet abundant in fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains, while advising against excessive consumption of red meat, saturated fats, and ultra-processed foods. 

This advice aligns with numerous researchers who assert that adopting a plant-based diet, particularly in midlife, aids in preserving cognitive function and health. Recent studies, including one from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, highlight the significant risk reduction of cognitive decline in women following such diets during middle age, crucial given their higher susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. Another from Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine showcase the cognitive health benefits of antioxidants present in plant-based foods, suggesting a pivotal role in reducing the risk of cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Keys to aging gracefully on a plant-based diet

Of course, the science is on the plant side when it comes to the positive effects to be had on aging bodies and minds. But how does it actually feel to age while living a vegan lifestyle? We asked seven of our favorite fabulous vegans over 50 about their everyday secrets, the perspective they’ve gained over the years, tips, advice and why it’s true that life just gets better with age.

VegNews.BabetteDavis.2Babette Davis

Babette Davis

Chef, restaurant owner, and media personality

Age: 73
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Vegan for: 33 years
What’s your secret to a long and healthy life?
Working out five days a week—two hours a day—and nourishing myself with a delicious plant-based diet that includes a lot of life in the form of raw foods. I also juice every day and fast at least three times a year. But most importantly, I remain positive and grateful.

VegNews.TracyeMcQuirterTracye McQuirter

Tracye McQuirter

Public health nutritionist and author

Age: 57
Location: Washington, DC
Vegan for: 37 years
How has veganism affected how you’ve aged?
Being vegan has paid off! I truly thank my 20-year-old self for going vegan 37 years ago. It’s led to so much freedom and goodness in my life—including my favorite thing about being my age: putting myself first. And more is still unfolding all of the time.

VegNews.GeneBaurGene Baur

Gene Baur

Author and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary

Age: 61
Location: Arlington, VA
Vegan for: 38 years
If you could tell your younger self one thing about life in 2024, what would it be?
Empathy is critical to our humanity, and in 2024, it’s more important than ever to empathize and understand the perspectives of others—especially those who disagree with you.

VegNews.JohnMackeyJohn Mackey

John Mackey

Co-founder of Whole Foods Market and founder of vegan wellness center Love.Life in El Segundo, CA

Age: 70
Location: Austin, TX
Vegan for: 20 years
What’s your #1 tip for aging well?
Having close friends who are genuine and bring out the best version of yourself is so important. It keeps you honest, ensures you’re laughing, and encourages you to try new things.

VegNews.AngelaMeansAngela Means

Angela Means

Actress, chef, and cookbook author

Age: 60
Location: Los Angeles, CA & Tahoka, TX
Vegan for: 10 years
What would you say to someone who is afraid of aging?
Replace fear with gratitude. Take a barefoot walk across the lawn, and then hug a tree. Create a bucket list that inspires hope and enthusiasm. Don’t take the present and future for granted by trying to stay in the past. 

VegNews.VictoriaMoranVictoria Moran

Victoria Moran

Author, speaker, and podcaster

Age: 73
Location: New York, NY
Vegan for: 40 years
What’s a personal habit that helps you stay fabulous at 73?
Three meals a day, with living in between. I learned this years ago in the recovery program that got me past a binge eating disorder and enabled me to go vegan after a long time of trying. With three meals a day, I eat when it’s time to eat and live when it’s time to live. During those hours between meals, my digestion gets to do its job.

VegNews.ColleenPatrickGoudreauColleen Patrick-Goudreau

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Author, speaker, and podcaster

Age: 53
Location: Oakland, CA
Vegan for: 24 years
What’s the best aging advice you would give to someone?
Identify others—women, especially—who are aging in a way you admire, and emulate them. 

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