Do you know about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet? Countless studies have linked this way of eating—which focuses on consuming plenty of healthy fats (especially from fish and olive oil), leafy green veggies, low-sugar fruits, nuts and legumes—to improved cardiovascular health, along with healthy blood sugar, weight management and more. Now, scientists believe it may also be linked to healthy aging.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined more than 4,500 adult women and found that the chromosomes of those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had longer telomeres, which are associated with longer life expectancy and a lower risk of age-related disease. Telomeres are the protective structures at the end of our chromosomes that safeguard important genetic information from being destroyed as we age.
While the study authors plan to explore their findings further, in part to determine if the effects are similar in men, they agree there is a clear link between certain dietary habits and healthier aging.
“The health benefits of greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet—reduction of overall mortality, increased longevity and reduced incidence of chronic diseases, especially major cardiovascular diseases—have been consistently demonstrated,” said senior author Dr. Immaculata De Vivo in a recent article. She went on to say the results of this new study further support the health benefits of adhering to a Mediterranean diet.