It's never too late to start following a Mediterranean diet, new research suggests.
Adopting the Mediterranean way of eating, which includes many vegetables, fish and olive oil, after age 65 reduces a person's risk of dying too early by 25 percent, according to a study conducted today.
And the more strictly a pensioner follows the Mediterranean diet, which also includes a glass of wine with meals, the less likely they die prematurely, the research adds.
The study's author, Dr. Licia Iacoviello, of the IRCCS Neuromed hospital in Molise, Italy, said: "With the progressive aging of the world population, we know that, in a few years, people over 65 will represent about a quarter part of Europeans.
Researcher Giovanni de Gaetano added: "Our study is a solid foundation for promoting a healthy diet model inspired by the principles of the Mediterranean diet, even among the elderly."
It's never too late to start following a Mediterranean diet, suggests new research (stock)
EXPLAINED: THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
Consuming more fruits and fish, and less sugary drinks and snacks, are the most important aspects of a Mediterranean diet.
- Whole grains
- Fish and meat
- Monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil
- Saturated fats, like butter
- Red meat
- Processed foods, such as juice and white bread
- A glass of red wine here and there is fine
How can you follow it:
- Eat more fish
- Squeeze more fruits and vegetables at each meal
- Change your sunflower oil or butter for extra virgin olive oil
- Snack on nuts
- Eat fruit for dessert
How the investigation was carried out
The researchers analyzed more than 5,000 people over 65 who were taking part in the Moli-sani Study. They were followed for eight years.
They also evaluated a total of 12,000 people from other studies conducted in six countries.
In all the analyzes, the researchers evaluated the link between the adoption of the Mediterranean diet in later life and mortality.
The main author, Marialaura Bonaccio, said: "The novelty of our research is to focus our attention on a population of more than 65 years.
"We already knew that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of mortality in the general population, but we did not know if it would be the same specifically for the elderly."
& # 39; Moderate alcohol consumption is protective of health & # 39;
The results suggest that consuming a Mediterranean diet, which also includes a lot of whole grains and legumes, reduces the risk of dying too early by 25 percent.
The author of the study Marialaura Bonaccio said: "Our research considers nutrition as a whole, but it is still interesting to understand which foods contribute mainly to the" driving "effect of the Mediterranean diet".
Scientists believe that "good fats" such as olive oil, which are used in large quantities in the Mediterranean diet, are behind the benefits of the food plan. They add that moderate drinking can also improve a person's health.
Dr. Iacoviello said: "The moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, if inserted in a Mediterranean food context, is a protective factor for our health."
The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Adopt the Mediterranean way of eating, which includes many vegetables, fish and olive oil, after age 65 reduces a person's risk of dying too early by 25 percent (stock)
The Mediterranean diet may delay Alzheimer's disease in more than three years
This comes after the suggested research following a Mediterranean diet can delay dementia.
People who eat lots of vegetables, fish and olive oil have 15 percent less beta-amyloid protein, which can bind to form plaques in the brain that are related to Alzheimer's, according to a study by Weill Cornell Medical College.
Just three years after following a Mediterranean diet also preserves brain activity, which could postpone the onset of Alzheimer's in three and a half years, the researchers added.
Professor Ralph Martins, of Edith Cowen University, Joondalup, Australia, who was not involved in the study, believes that lifestyle plays a very important role in the onset of Alzheimer's, and medications often do not succeed if taken when the brain is already damaged.
Previous research suggests that the anti-inflammatory properties of Mediterranean staples, such as blue fish and vegetables, can prevent dementia by stopping damage to blood vessels in the brain.
Alzheimer's affects around 5.5 million people in the United States and 850,000 in the United Kingdom.