Overall, women who ate a Mediterranean diet had biomarkers associated with a lower age than those who did not.
A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at the correlation between the Mediterranean diet and aging in women. Overall, women who ate a Mediterranean diet had biomarkers associated with a lower age than those who did not. Researchers concluded that a Mediterranean diet could support greater health in old age as well as a longer life.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and grains. Overall, the grains are mainly unrefined. Additionally, there is a high intake of olive oil, but a low intake of saturated fats. For animal products, there is a moderately high intake of fish, but a low intake of dairy, meat, and poultry. Alcohol is consumed regularly, but in moderation. Typically, alcohol consumption is a glass of wine with a meal.
According to CNN, this study used telomere length to estimate aging. Telomeres are found at the end of the chromosomes, which house DNA. Telomeres essentially work as a protective cap to keep the chromosome and DNA structure from unraveling, which keeps the genetic information safe. Even in healthy people, telomeres shorten with age, making telomere length a proxy for aging. Shorter telomeres are associated with aging, lower life expectancy and age-related diseases such as artherosclerosis, certain cancers and liver disease.
This is not the first time the Mediterranean diet has been touted lauded for its potential to benefit health. The Mayo Clinic reports that a study of 1.5 million healthy adults showed the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease and cancer, as well as a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Researchers in the current study have built on this to show how the Mediterranean diet may affect genetics.