Mediterranean Diet Slows the Development of Frailty in the Elderly

By Dr. Henry Sobo

A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, provides more evidence that following what is called the Mediterranean diet may slow aging. Eating mostly plant-based foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, and fruits and vegetables, reduces the risk of frailty in older individuals keeping them healthier and more independent as they age.

Frailty Syndrome is a term which refers to older individuals who manifest decreased muscle strength, low energy, weight loss and associated problems like increased susceptibility to falls and fractures. This study ads credence to the notion that the diet may play an important role in the development of frailty, or its avoidance as one ages.

This research paper analyzed the evidence available from many studies which have examined the possible health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. In total the analysis included nearly 5,800 people from a number of countries.

Researcher Kate Walters, PhD of University College London, in the UK, says, “We found the evidence was very consistent that older people who follow a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of becoming frail. 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.”

This study found that the Mediterranean diet may help older individuals maintain muscle strength, activity, weight, and energy levels. Research colleague Dr. Gotaro Kojima ads, “Our study supports the growing body of evidence on the potential health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, in our case for potentially helping older people to stay well as they age.”

More and more research continues to show that diet, nutrition and lifestyle are key components for any anti- aging program.

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