Mediterranean Foods Promote Healthy Aging: Study

Adopting Mediterranean diet can prolong life, study suggests

People aged 65 or older who adhere to diet rich in fish, nuts and fresh vegetables have 25% lower risk of death, study finds

The Guardian – It’s been touted as the recipe for a healthy life, preventing all manner of ills. Now researchers say a Mediterranean diet still offers benefits in older age and could reduce the risk of death.

While somewhat nebulous in specific makeup, the diet is typically said to be rich in fish, nuts, fresh vegetables, olive oil, and fruit.

“Because we are facing an aging process all over the world, in particular in Europe, it is particularly important to see which kinds of tools we have today to face this aging process,” said Marialaura Bonaccio, an epidemiologist at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute, IRCCS Neuromed, and first author of the study.

“We all know that [the] Mediterranean diet is good for health, but there are few studies focusing on the elderly,” she added.

Previous studies have suggested benefits linked to both heart disease and cancer.

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study looked at the health and diet of 5,200 individuals aged 65 and over from the Molise region in Italy, who were recruited as part of a larger study between 2005 and 2010, and followed up until 2015, during which time 900 deaths occurred.

Participants completed a food questionnaire reflecting their diet in the year before signing up, and each was given a score for how close their diet was to the Mediterranean diet on a 0-9 scale.

The results reveal that those who stuck most closely to the Mediterranean diet were also more likely to undertake more physical activity in their free time.

When factors including age, sex, activity levels, socioeconomic status, smoking, and BMI were taken into account, those with a high adherence to the diet (scoring 7-9 on the scale) had a 25% lower risk of any cause of death than those who only scored 0-3 … Read more at The Guardian. 

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