Mediterranean Diet May Slow Aging
Could the foods we eat slow down or speed up the aging process? And if so, what foods potentially offer a fountain of youth and why? According to a new study published in The British Medical Journal, eating a Mediterranean diet might help extend your lifespan because it appears to be associated with longer telomere length, which is an established marker of slower aging. Which will make your St. Louis personal trainer very happy.
Telomeres sit on the end of chromosomes (like the plastic tips on the end of shoelaces), stopping them from fraying and scrambling the genetic codes they contain. In healthy people, telomeres shorten progressively throughout life, more than halving in length from infancy to adulthood, and halving again in the very elderly.
Shorter telomeres are thus associated with lower life expectancy and greater risk of age-related diseases. Lifestyle factors, such as obesity, cigarette smoking and consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, have all been linked to people having shorter telomeres than typically occur in people of a similar age. Oxidative stress and inflammation have also been shown to speed up telomere shortening.
By contrast, fruits, vegetables and nuts—key components of the Mediterranean diet—have well-known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. A study has come out now from Harvard Medical School on the Mediterranean diet and the results were that a Mediterranean diet is the cornerstone of dietary advice in cardiovascular disease prevention, and the fact that it also links with a biomarker of slower aging is reassuring, says one professor from Lund University, Sweden. Which is another factor that will make your St. Louis personal trainer very happy.
The Mediterranean diet provides a great framework for individuals who want to improve the overall quality of their dietary habits. Here is what a Mediterranean diet looks like:
A Mediterranean diet typically includes:
- Large amounts of: vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes (such as peas, beans and lentils), unrefined grains and olive oil
- Moderately high amounts of: fish
- Low intake of: dairy products, meat and poultry; saturated fats
- Regular, but moderate intake of alcohol (specifically wine with meals
I don’t know about you, but I find this way of eating to be very delicious. Start eating this way today and you will see what I mean.
For more information on the Mediterranean diet, contact Maurie Cofman, AHFS, CES, TBMM-CES, Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist in the St. Louis, Brentwood, and Clayton, MO area.