How the Mediterranean diet can help you live longer and think better
New studies support the benefits of the Mediterrean Diet.
As diet fads come and go, the Mediterranean diet continues to be a mainstay of recommendations due to a consistent flow of studies that confirm its benefits. A new meta-study just came out that says the diet is a boon for seniors, helping them avoid frailty and lead independent lives.
The new study analyzed previously-published studies and shows how eating a diet that stresses plant-based foods, like fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes as well as lots of fish may keep one healthy well into advanced years.
When older adults experience more frailty, their life quality gets worse. They may feel low in energy, lose weight and muscle strength, and be subject to health concerns like falls and fractures, hospitalization, dementia, disability, and even premature death. One way to keep such effects at bay - adopt the right nutrition, says a UK research team led by Kate Walters, PhD and Gotaro Kojima, MD, from the University College London.
The researchers looked at four published studies from France, Spain, Italy and China that link the Mediterranean diet and how older adults develop frailty. These studies included data for 5,789 people over 60. The scientists found that a Mediterranean diet helped people keep muscle strength, weight, as well as activity and energy levels.
"We found the evidence was very consistent that older people who follow a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of becoming frail," said Dr. Walters. "People who followed a Mediterranean diet the most were overall less than half as likely to become frail over a nearly four-year period compared with those who followed it the least."
The Mediterranean diet is based on the kind of food you would have typically found in Greece and Southern Italy in the 1960s. Focused on plant-based foods, cutting down on saturated fat and sugar, it also emphasizes eating low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry, as well as reasonable consumption of wine. The health benefits can range from lower instances of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cancers to longer life overall, as was the conclusion of a 2014 study that discovered how adherents to the diet had longer telomeres, which sit at the end of chromosomes and are associated with longer life expectancy
Here's an example of how you can eat on the Mediterranean diet:
Other recent studies have also touted the advantages of the Mediterranean diet, including research published in 2018 in the Journal of Urology that showed how eating a diet rich in fish, boiled potatoes, as well as whole fruits, vegetables and olive oil, lowered the risk of aggressive prostate cancer for men.
A 2017 study also came out in support of eating like you live in the lands of siesta, saying that a diet rich in virgin olive oil can boost “good” cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.
Another 2017 meta-study that looked at the cases of 5,907 people demonstrated how a Mediterranean-style diet improved brain function in older adults. In fact, the difference was quite pronounced. People adhering to this diet had a 35% lower risk of scoring badly on cognitive tests.
Lest you think the diet is only good for the elderly, a 2014 study that looked at data from 8 European countries found that following this dietary plan was better for children as well, making them less likely to become overweight.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
- A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
- The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
- The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.