The Mediterranean diet, a diet inspired by the eating habits of Greece, Southern Italy and Spain in the 1940s and 1950s, is renowned for its heart health benefits. According to six new articles, this heart-healthy diet may also slow down ageing.
The articles, published in The Journal Of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, reported on the elements of a Mediterranean diet, including the positive relationship between the diet and physical and cognitive function, the role of the diet in reducing inflammation and the value of taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement while sticking to the diet.
Keep reading for the full scoop on this new research…
What is the Mediterranean diet characterised by?
A typical Mediterranean diet includes a variety of vegetables, fresh fruits eaten as dessert, minimally processed whole grains and legumes as the staple food, cold
-pressed extra-virgin olive oil as well as nuts and seeds.
The diet also stresses moderate consumption of fish, low consumption of dairy products and very low consumption of red and processed meat.
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How does the Mediterranean diet slow down ageing?
One of the studies published in the journal, conducted by researchers from the University of Paris, found that people who followed the Mediterranean diet the closest had higher odds of meeting a healthy ageing
Another study, this one carried out by researchers at the Autonomous University of Madrid, linked closer adherence to the Mediterranean diet to a lower likelihood of physical function impairment in older adults.
“Greater clarity on how this diet is defined, in both interventions and observational studies, will be critical in the aim of achieving a consensus on how to optimally apply this dietary pattern towards maximising healthy ageing,” the study authors wrote.
How much research is there on the ageing benefits of the Mediterranean diet?
The recent series of articles isn’t the first research to suggest that the staves off ageing. A 2017 study from the University of Edinburgh found that the diet keeps brains from shrinking in old age.
Furthermore, a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
found that older people who followed the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of becoming frail. In fact, hose who followed the diet the closest over a four-year period were less than half as likely to become frail as those who followed it the least.
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