You may not be able to prevent aging, but you can influence how fast it happens. Excess drinking, for example, will speed up the aging process; whereas, maintaining a healthy weight will slow it down. You probably know that excessive consumption makes it harder to live to 100 years old, whereas regular exercise helps you stay healthy and vibrant as you age.
Now, new research suggests that adopting the Mediterranean diet may help to slow down the effects of aging.
Researchers looked at nearly 4,500 adults aged 35 and up in a recent study to see how frequently they consumed specific meals and compared this data to biological aging indicators in participants’ blood. The more faithfully participants’ diet patterns followed the principles of the Mediterranean diet, the less their bodies showed signs of biological aging, according to the research.
Adherence to the DASH diet was also linked to a decreased risk of aging in men, according to researchers. The DASH diet, which is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet, is a dietary regimen that includes a set of recommendations for how much food from various groups should be consumed each day.
“This research validates what we already know about the MIND Diet, which is a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets that many previous studies have shown to be an extremely beneficial mix for heart and cognitive health,” says Jessica Levinson, a culinary nutrition and communications dietitian in Westchester County, NY. “The key recommendations that come from these two diets are vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, beans, healthy fats, low-fat dairy and whole grains.”
According to the researchers, the high amounts of polyphenols in both the DASH and Mediterranean diets might be why these diets appear to fight age. Polyphenols, antioxidants present in certain plants, have been linked with a variety of potential health advantages, including offering protection against a number of illnesses such as various cancers, diabetes, heart diseases, osteoporosis and more.
“Fresh, plant-based meals (which are high in polyphenols – antioxidants that fight inflammation) can help you age better.” According to Elena Paravantes. “Highly processed foods that cause inflammation and cell degeneration should be avoided. Fresh, plant-based foods combat inflammatory responses that might promote aging.”
Paravantes states that the majority of foods in the Mediterranean diet’s foundation contain polyphenols, and she advocates eating extra virgin olive oil as your primary source of fat. She also encourages people to eat plant-based meals, fresh fruits, nuts, spices, and allium vegetables (onions, garlic, leeks).