The more Mediterranean diet is ideal for you, the longer the telomeres are. The longer the telomeres are, the longer you’ll live. The fair conclusion of the research studying the Mediterranean diet’s impact on longevity is that eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, unrefined grains, and an occasional glass of wine will extend your life expectancy.
Telomeres and the new study
Telomeres are the ending part region of a chromosome. The role of a telomer is to protect the chromosome from damage or from merging with another chromosome. They are an indicator of the risk of cancer, heart disease, and several other diseases.
Also, telomeres “can be used as a biomarker of aging; the longer they are, the better,” said study coauthor Immaculata De Vivo, an associate professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Obesity, sugary sodas, and smoking cause the telomeres to shrink. The Mediterranean diet was proved to slow down this process.
4,676 women participated in the study. Their telomeres’ morphology was observed to improve as a consequence of their diet. Those following a Mediterranean diet had longer telomeres than the women eating the regular American diet.
The study says that a difference of 4.5 years of aging was observed between the two categories of participants. It’s like comparing a smoker to a non-smoker, they say. Eating red meat, saturated fats, sweets, and empty calories does the same harm to our health as nicotine, carbon dioxide, and tar. It isn’t just one food that improves the telomeres but more the combination of foods in this diet.
Other studies on the Mediterranean diet
It isn’t just the life expectancy that is improved. Another study shows evidence that our cognitive functions respond to our dietary habits. Data form 7,756 people observed in clinical trials for a decade showed evidence that eating high amounts of fish and vegetables lowers the risk of cognitive impairment.
Another study came with evidence of the influence the Mediterranean diet has on the microbiome. The human microbiome is considered to be an organ consisting of bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, and viruses that live in our bodies.
An international group of 612 people were observed and underlined the importance of this diet on increased diet-positive microbes and decreased diet-negative microbes. “Although the changes were small, these findings were consistent across all five countries — and small changes in one year can make for big effects in the longer term,” says the study on the Mediterranean diet.