Unless you have had enough of your problems in life, there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to live long. While there is no food or drug that can make you immortal, one diet is believed to be effective in making one healthy and free from diseases.
Mediterranean diet has long intrigued health experts because it has been observed that those who follow a diet rich in vegetables, seafood and fruits tend to be healthier than those whose diet consists mainly of processed food. And studies have actually confirmed what these health experts have suspected.
One study published in The BMJ says that Mediterranean diet is linked with longer telomere length which is a factor in slowing down aging. If you haven’t heard of telomere then you should know that it is the DNA sequence found at the end of a chromosome.
But what is the connection between telomeres and life expectancy? For one, it shortens naturally as people age. In fact its length is cut by as much as half from expectancy to adulthood. It then splits again once a person reaches old age.
So in effect the shorter through telomeres are the shorter the life of a person. It is also associated with age related chronic diseases.
The study was conducted by experts from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It used data from the Nurses Health Study to look into the possibilities that maintaining Mediterranean diet has a connection with longer telomere length.
The study took into account 4,676 participants all of whom were in their middle ages and answered a food questionnaire. Then they took a blood test to determine their telomere length.
Each participant was given a diet score from 0-9 points depending with the proximity of their diet to a Mediterranean diet. Findings were also adjusted for other intervening factors like high body mass index.
The researchers discovered that the more a diet adheres to the Mediterranean diet, the longer the telomeres were. A difference in one point in the diet scoring scale translated to 1.5 years of aging of telomere.
Aside from potentially increasing life expectancy, Mediterranean diet has also been linked to decreased risks of heart disease. In past studies like the one conducted by experts at McMaster University found a link between good heart health and Mediterranean diet.
Although the study was done several years ago, it is still significant given that it proved that eating a diet that resembles the Mediterranean diet significantly reduces heart disease risks. In the research, experts evaluated nearly 200 studies involving dietary patterns and their connection to coronary heart disease. The studies were actually extensive, having been conducted between 1950 to 2007 in the U.S. and parts of Europe and Asia.
The conclusion of the study was that certain dietary patterns are effective in reducing risks of coronary heart disease. Specifically a diet that includes vegetables, nuts, fruits and healthy fats like canola oil and oil is good for the heart. It also mentioned that drinking red wine in moderation and eating minimal red meat improves the condition of the heart.
Additionally, the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded there is enough evidence that certain dietary factors like lots of food rich in trans fatty acids are detrimental to one’s health.
There are even studies that indicate the effectiveness of the Mediterranean diet in protecting individuals from type 2 diabetes.
One study conducted by Spanish researchers looked into the cases of 13,000-plus graduates from the University of Navarra in Spain. The participants in the study were healthy and had no history of diabetes. Researchers also tracked the participants’ dietary and health habits during a follow-up period of more than four years.
The study had a survey that was utilized to determine the diet that the participants followed, with questions probing their use of oils and fats, use of food supplements and preferred cooking methods.
What the researchers found out that participants who adhered to the Mediterranean diet faced lower diabetes risk. They even wrote that those who followed the diet had an 83% reduction in diabetes risk.
Given that these clinical studies have proven that Mediterranean diet can make you live longer aside having lower risks of heart diseases and diabetes, it’s high time for you to start appreciating vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and unrefined grains. You must also begin to limit your intake of meat and poultry and appreciate wine with meals.
You can start by dining in at restaurants like Maggiano’s and Olive Garden which serve mouthwatering but highly nutritious Mediterranean specialties. Eventually you can start preparing your own Mediterranean dishes at home so you and your family will not only enjoy excellent food but also protect your health in the long run.