Does the Mediterranean diet increase life expectancy?

According to a new study, adherence to a Mediterranean diet helps extend life. People who follow such a diet have longer telomeres, which have been found to be a factor in more -slow aging and significantly fewer diseases.

And the results of previous scientific studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet is associated with a number of health benefits, significantly reducing the risk of early death and the development of cardiovascular disease.

People who follow this diet consume mostly vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes /such as beans, peas and lentils/ and mostly /unprocessed/ grains.< /p>

The Mediterranean diet also includes intake of larger amounts of olive oil. And food sources of saturated fat such as milk, dairy products and meat, including chicken are limited, fish is consumed in moderation. p>

Alcohol is consumed regularly, but also moderately, especially wine during meals.

Telomeres are located at the ends of chromosomes /similar to the plastic ends of shoelaces/ in order to prevent the genetic codes they contain /chromosomes/ from breaking and fusing together.

In healthy people, telomeres shorten gradually throughout a person’s life. Their length decreases by half from early childhood to adulthood, and this process is repeated once more in very old age.

Thus, short telomeres are associated with lower life expectancy and a greater risk of developing age-related diseases.

Human lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

All people with these factors have shorter telomeres than people of that age normally have. Oxidative stress and inflammation have also been found to accelerate telomere shortening.

Given that fruits, vegetables and nuts – the main foods of which the Mediterranean diet actually consists – are well known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, a team of American scientists began a study in order to determine whether adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with longer life.

They analyzed data on 4,676 middle-aged women in good health. They take their information from the largest study conducted in the United States, which followed the health status of more than 120,000 nurses since 1976.

Participants in this large-scale scientific study filled out questionnaires about their eating habits and the foods they consumed and gave blood samples to measure their telomere levels.

The diet of each of the participants was evaluated based on a scale from 0 to 9. Depending on the proximity of the food groups consumed by them to the observance of the Mediterranean diet.

After adjusting for other influencing factors, the results showed that the closer a particular participant’s diet was to the Mediterranean diet, the longer her telomeres were.

Each point on the scale indicated above corresponds to the aging of these end sections of the chromosomes by 1.5 years. At 9, the participants’ telomeres are the longest, that is, closest to the Mediterranean diet.

However, none of the food groups was associated with a change in telomere length, highlighting the importance of looking at dietary habits as a whole rather than just individual food groups such as whole grain for example.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button