Mediterranean diets have become widely popular among Americans, mostly due to the fact that the foods and cooking methods are ideal choices for promoting a healthy diet. In fact, a recent study indicates that the benefits of Mediterranean food are highly valuable.
Researchers looked at the link between women who eat Mediterranean-style foods versus those who do not and found that this particular diet is linked to slower aging. The study found that women who ate more Mediterranean foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, unrefined grains, fish and olive oil had longer telomeres in their blood cells. Telomeres are sequences of DNA that form protective caps at the end of chromosomes. Telomeres get shorter every time a cell divides, and factors like stress and inflammation in the body may also shorten telomeres. The Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants and anti-imflammatory compounds, which help prevent inflammation in the body.
The study consisted of 4,700 women who were participating in a long-term study following the health of more than 120,00 nurses working in the United States. Researchers measured the length of the participants’ telomeres in blood cell samples from the nurses. The samples were given between 1989 and 1990. The researchers also looked at the women’s diet and scored them on a scale from zero to nine. The higher number on the scale indicated a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
The researchers found that the women with higher scores tended to have longer telomeres than women with lower scores. For every point that was higher on the woman’s diet, her telomere length corresponded with about 1.5 years less of aging. The researchers did not find one food in the diet that stood out that helped prolonged this aging. But it did indicate that if everyone adhered more to a Mediterranean style diet, it could slow the aging process!
Information gathered from Fox News.