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Mediterranean diet could help older people fight off frailty

Everyone wants to be strong and young as long as possible. However, with old age comes frailty. Are there any ways to defeat it? Scientists from UCL say that diet is a good way. A new research revealed that a Mediterranean diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts may help older people remain a little stronger.

Mediterranean diet consists of plant-based foods and low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry. And wine. Image credit: Sumit Surai via Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 4.0)

Frailty is horrible for the quality of life. It also contributes to the deteriorating health – weaker muscles and lower energy levels are not good for heart nor for mental health. These issues are bound to increase as the population ages rapidly. However, as this study has shown, a diet based on Greece and Southern Italy in the 1960s could help reducing frailty. It consists of plant-based foods and low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry. Of course, it also includes low to moderate amounts of wine, but is low in saturated fat and sugar. Why is it so good for people?

The answer is simple – a Mediterranean diet lower incidences of cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, overall cancer incidence. People who follow it simply live longer. Not only their life expectancy is increased, but the quality grows as well – they stay more independent, keep away from hospitals, disability and dementia is less of a problem. Scientists reviewed four researches, including 5789 people over 60 living in France, Spain, Italy, and China, to deliver these findings, which support the growing body of evidence about health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. Maintaining muscle strength, activity, weight, and energy levels is very important as you age, but scientists say that it is pretty much never too late to change the diet for the better.

However, scientists are still not a 100 % sure what actually brings these benefits. It is very likely to be the diet, but it could also be other characteristics that helped to protect these individuals. Dr Kate Walters, one of the authors of the study, said: “While the studies we included adjusted for many of the major factors that could be associated—for example, their age, gender, social class, smoking, alcohol, how much they exercised, and how many health conditions they had—there may be other factors that were not measured and we could not account for”. And so, larger studies are needed to confirm these evidences.

Mediterranean diet is not really that difficult to follow. It is colourful and flavourful. Many people will be happy that it does include a healthy amount of wine as well.

 

Source: UCL

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