Mediterranean-style Diet Slows Aging and Bone Loss
The Mediterranean Diet has been trending for some time as a healthy diet that can work for most individuals, young and old. A new study funded by the EU, found that a NU-AGE Mediterranean-style diet can significantly lower levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker associated with aging.
The study is the first of its kind to delve into specific impacts of the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the elderly and aging. The Mediterranean diet consists largely of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and olive oil, coupled with physical activity. It has been associated with helping to improve an individual’s health profile, reducing the risk of heart disease, lowering LDL or the bad cholesterol, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, certain cancers and diabetes.
The Nu-AGE Mediterranean diet offered personalized, tailored versions of the diet to 1142 volunteers from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK. The individuals differed in gender, genetics, body composition, compliance with following the diet, response to the diet, blood measurements, inflammatory markers, and whether they tested positive for cytomegalovirus (a common virus from the herpes family).
The researchers involved in the study also looked at socio-economic factors of food choices, health information, and possible barriers to having a quality-driven diet. They also examined nutrition knowledge, which differed among subjects from different countries. Subjects from France and the UK felt they knew more about nutrition, compared to subjects from Poland.
Researchers noted that in addition to slowing aging, rate of bone loss in people with already diagnosed osteoporosis seemed to slow down too. It makes sense to assume that the sooner an individual starts the Mediterranean diet, the earlier the benefits can be appreciated. You can modify portion sizes in order to also adhere to a weight loss or a weight maintenance model, while still enjoying the wide range of foods that the diet includes. You can also modify portions to accommodate the smaller appetites of kids.
To follow the plan, your daily diet should include:
• Fruits and vegetables
• Whole grains
• Olive oil
• Beans, nuts, legumes (unprocessed)
• Herbs and spices
• Fish and seafood
• Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt
• A very limited amount of meats and sweets
The premise of following a Mediterranean-style diet is to make wise choices, especially when it comes to fats. The diet discourages saturated fats and trans fats, both of which are linked to heart disease. Olive oil is the primary fat recommended in the diet, and extra virgin and virgin olive oils are suggested as the best versions. Fatty fishes like mackerel, salmon, sardines, albacore tuna, herring and lake trout are also recommended since they are all high in omega-3 fatty acids. Wine in moderation is also an integral part of the diet. Dairy choices should be low fat or fat free.The program suggests strict portion control when it comes to red meat. You should choose the leanest cuts of red meat, and eat it sparingly.
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