February 4, 2015: A study published in the British Medical Journal points out that a Mediterranean diet can help us live longer. Mediterranean diet is also good for weight loss for most people.
A nutritionist at the British Nutrition Foundation also confirms that the British diet is less healthy than many of our European counterparts. Although it has been a long thought that diet could improve general health, this particular diet owes its success to the inclusion of more fruits and vegetables and a lower intake of saturated fat than the average British diet.
Researchers from Brigham and Women?s Hospital collaborated with Harvard Medical School examined a variety of diets in 4,676 healthy middle-aged women, and compared it to the telomeres in their genes. Telomeres are like plastic tips at the end of shoelaces, which are found at the end of chromosomes. Chromosomes carry important genetic information. As we age, telomeres continue to reduce. Women with a diet most similar to the Mediterranean had longer telomeres.
Telomeres halve from infancy to adulthood and then halve again once we reach old age. Oxidative stress and inflammation are two accelerators of reducing telomeres. According to Dr. Barry Sears, author of The Mediterranean Zone, anything that reduces inflammation or increases metabolism can extend longevity.
Polyphenols are found in Mediterranean diet but cannot be replaced in our bodies once we run out. They reduce oxidative stress, which slows aging, and are even found in wine and chocolate.
Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are key components to the diet, and have been highly researched and proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The polyphenols are the reason why the Mediterranean diet should be adopted, as it lowers the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.
Source: British Medical Journal
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