THE LINK between diet and successful ageing continues to be supported through evidence. One of the most striking associations between the foods we eat and the length of our lifespan was published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The key finding was that closer adherence to a particular diet can reduce risk of death from all causes by a whopping 25 percent when compared to those who had lowest adherence to the diet.
The ageing process can be ruthless, which makes steps to mitigate its worst effects critical. The role diet plays in providing a buffer against the risk of death has been explored in numerous studies. One of the most notable suggested that closer adherence to the Mediterranean diet as we age can drastically reduce the risk of death from all causes.
The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.
But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.
“We all know that [the]Mediterranean diet is good for health, but there are few studies focusing on the elderly,” said Marialaura Bonaccio, an epidemiologist at the Mediterranean Neurological Institute, IRCCS Neuromed, and first author of the study.
Ms Bonaccio and her colleagues set out to fill this gap in knowledge.
They pored over the health and diet of 5,200 individuals aged 65 and over from the Molise region in Italy, who were recruited as part of a larger study between 2005 and 2010, and followed up until 2015, during which time 900 deaths occurred.
Participants completed a food questionnaire reflecting their diet in the year before signing up, and each was given a score for how close their diet was to the Mediterranean diet on a 0-9 scale.
The results revealed that those who adhered most closely to the Mediterranean diet were also more likely to undertake more physical activity in their free time.
When factors including age, sex, activity levels, socioeconomic status, smoking and BMI were taken into account, those with a high adherence to the diet (scoring 7-9 on the scale) had a 25 percent lower risk of any cause of death than those who only scored 0-3.
What’s more, a one point increase in adherence to. “Brinkwire Summary News”.