The Mediterranean diet is known primarily as a way of eating healthy. By sticking to mostly lighter fare, following the Mediterranean diet can help you lose weight and improve your heart health. As scientists continue to investigate the benefits of this type of diet, we can see a more detailed picture of just how Mediterranean eating can help us live longer while avoiding premature aging.

Telomeres, the wrinkles of your DNA

A study by researchers out of the Harvard Medical School and published in the British Medical Journal has found that following a Mediterranean diet can help prevent signs of aging in your DNA. Telomeres are repeating sequences of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that scientists use as a means of determining the age of our bodies at a molecular level.

As we age, our telomeres naturally grow shorter; however, some activities, like smoking, obesity and even drinking too much soda, can shorten our telomeres prematurely. The shorter your telomeres, the more your cells begin to act like those of an older person.

By analyzing the enormous amount of data collected as part of the Nurses’ Health Study, scientists were able to create and examine a group of over 4,500 women. The study has been following the health and nutrition of 120,000 women since 1976. With such a long duration of time, the researchers were able to see how diet affected the telomere length (found via blood tests) of women of multiple ages and compare it to their diet.

By placing women on a 0 to 9 diet scale, with a higher number meaning the women followed a Mediterranean diet more closely, scientist were able to quantify how important a Mediterranean diet can be.

They found that every time the diet score went up a point, the telomeres for that person were 1.5 years younger. That means just a 3-point difference resulted in telomeres that were almost 5 years younger!

The benefits of Mediterranean cuisine

The Mediterranean diet is sometimes thought of as not being very good for your heart on account of its higher fat content than some other diets. That is patently untrue. Studies have found that a Mediterranean diet is actually better for your cardiovascular health than a low-fat one. One of the main reasons for this stems from a lack of sugar, which helps improve Insulin Efficiency, and plenty of antioxidants.

The Mediterranean diet consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, chicken, fish and, rarely, red meat. Eggs, cheese, and yogurt are included. Olive oil is substituted for other fat sources, like butter, and dishes are seasoned with herbs and spices rather than salt. As with any kind of diet, the less processed the food the better.

As part of the Olumia Life Nutrition plan, you’ll get the many benefits as a Mediterranean diet, including many of the same foods, along with plenty of other customized aspects to optimize your individual results. If you’re interested in learning more, try browsing the Nutrition articles on the site.

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