Mediterranean diet may slow aging [VIDEO]

Sombit Mishra

Interesting highlights:

  • Mediterranean diet typically consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, fish, olive oil and occasional red wine;  the diet discourages red meats and processed foods.
  • Study is one of the largest population studies evaluating the Mediterranean diet and aging.  The study was conducted by Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, which surveyed the eating habits of 4,600 women.
  • Women who more closely followed a Mediterranean diet were found to have longer telomeres, which are phenotypic biomarkers at the end of chromosomes.  Longer telomeres have empirically been a sign of longevity and the body's enhanced ability to fight infection/inflammation, while shorter telomeres have been associated with higher inflammation levels and worsening of chronic conditions.
  • Areas of future research:  The study did not evaluate the longitudinal relationship between the Mediterranean diet and telomere length, but instead looked at the correlation between self-reported adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the size of telomeres at a single point in time.  Studying this relationship as well as measuring diet adherence more effectively in free-living settings would greatly enhance future research in this area.