You may already know that following a Mediterranean diet can help lower your risk for heart disease. But new research shows that the diet may also help prolong your life. Researchers have found the a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and olive oil is associated with longer telomere life (indicators of slower aging).
Telomeres are structures at then end of DNA chromosomes that affect how our cells age. Telomeres shorten as we age, but they tend to shorten more slowly in healthy people according to he scientists. Experts say shorter telomeres have been associated with a greater risk of age-related diseases and shorter life span.
For the study, the scientists analyzed data of more than 4,600 participants. Every one of the participants was given a score of 0 to 9 based on how closely they followed a Mediterranean diet. The higher score indicated the participant had the greatest adherence to the diet.
Through their study, scientists were able to find that that telomeres aged more slowly for the participants who stuck to the diet the most (the higher the score, the better), however, the intake of individual food items in the Mediterranean diet had no affect on telomere length.
"To our knowledge, this is the largest population-based study specifically addressing the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and telomere length in healthy, middle-aged women," said the researchers. "Our results further support the benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet for promoting health and longevity."
These results show that you can’t go wrong implanting the Mediterranean diet into your life. Here's to eating bread on your 100th birthday.
Do you follow the Mediterranean diet? What are some of your healthy recipes?