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Go mediterranean for health

Go mediterranean for health

Between low-fat, low-carb, Paleo, and gluten-free, it can be hard to keep track of all the trendy diets out there today. Though we are not proponents of fad diets in general, research points to one health-promoting diet plan likely to benefit your health and well-being.

A Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fish, and olive oil has been linked to longevity, improved blood flow, and kidney health.

Mediterranean diet for a longer life

In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers linked the Mediterranean diet to longevity by measuring telomeres (repetitive DNA sequences on chromosomes that protect genomic DNA). Telomere length is a marker of aging. Shorter length is associated with decreased life expectancy and increased rate of developing chronic disease. Length naturally decreases with age, but oxidative stress and inflammation can speed up the process. Research suggests telomere length, and therefore life expectancy, can be changed by modifying lifestyle factors like diet.

A woman is cooking vegetables in a pan
Picture: Perfect - in the Mediterranean cuisine you can enjoy lots of vegetables!

Dietary patterns and telomere length

Using data from the Nurses’ Health Study, an investigation of factors that influence women’s health in the United States, researchers analyzed dietary patterns and measured telomere length in over 4,600 women ages 42 to 70 years. Participants completed a questionnaire indicating how often they ate certain foods, and then diets were scored 0-9, with higher scores going to diets closest to a traditional Mediterranean diet.

Greater adherence to Mediterranen diet in younger women

Not surprisingly, researchers found younger women had longer telomeres, but they also noted greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomere length. For every one point change in diet score, the difference in telomere length corresponded with 1.5 years of aging. Therefore a three point increase in diet score represented 4.5 more years of life, a similar difference when comparing aging of smokers with non-smokers.

What do you think about a Mediterranean diet? Your Dole Team

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