Red wines aren’t the only things that can age gracefully. New research in the British Medical Journal suggests that the Mediterranean Diet is associated with healthy aging, right down to our DNA!
The scientists found that people with the greatest adherence to the Mediterranean Diet (measured on a 0-9 scale using the Alternate Mediterranean Diet Score) had the longest telomeres, a good indicator of healthy aging. In fact, according to the study, “a three point change in the Alternate Mediterranean Diet score would correspond to on average 4.5 years of aging, which is comparable to the diﬀerence observed when comparing smokers with non-smokers.”
There’s no one “Mediterranean Diet” – it’s an overall healthy eating pattern traditionally followed through varying foods and ﬂavors in countries around the Mediterranean Sea, from Morocco through Northern Africa to the Middle East and onward through Greece, Italy, Southern France and Spain. Mediterranean Diets are characterized by lots of vegetables, fruits, grains (mostly unreﬁned), ﬁsh, legumes, and nuts, and less meat. Additionally, the researchers pointed out that no one speciﬁc food was pinpointed as the best, reinforcing the importance of a well-rounded, healthy diet. The researchers also found that people whose diets scored high on the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (a measure of healthy eating) also had longer telomeres, but that the association wasn’t as strong as it was for the Mediterranean Diet.
This observational study adds to the overwhelming evidence behind the Mediterranean Diet. Are you ready to get a taste of this delicious and nutritious lifestyle? Check out all of our Mediterranean Diet Resources, including our book, The Oldways 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan.