We’ve all heard it before–the Mediterranean diet is full of health benefits, with links to preventing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and breast cancer. But a more recent study has suggested a brand new benefit of the diet. This one’s focused on older individuals, indicating that it can reduce the risk of frailty.
Frailty is part of the ageing process, referring to how the systems in our bodies gradually lose their reserves. It leaves us vulnerable to sudden changes in our health caused by seemingly small events such as an infection, a change in our environment or a change in medication. Those who suffer from frailty are often under care 24 hours a day in order to ease the symptoms of weakness, fatigue, and severe weight loss.
The study, led by Kate Walters and Gotaro Kojima of University College London, looked at the link between diet and development of frailty in over 5,700 people in France, Spain, Italy, and China. The results showed that over a four-year period, people who followed a Mediterranean diet were less than half as likely to become frail compared to those who followed it the least.
So what exactly do they eat in the Mediterranean? First of all, the diet is more of a lifestyle than it is a meal plan. It consists mostly of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. A key part of the diet is its overall combination of healthy foods rather than focusing on individual superfoods. Ultimately, a few additions to your diet won’t change much–it’s switching out the fatty, processed foods to wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that will make the bigger difference.
Considering around 25 to 50 percent of people over 85 suffer from frailty, the results from the study are pretty significant and could open new doors to those wishing to prevent it. But before changing your diet, you should always look at the bigger picture–the winning argument for eating a Mediterranean diet is that it can benefit you in a range of other ways that goes beyond reducing your risk of frailty, from weight-loss to improved cholesterol levels and an extended lifespan.
If you’re interested in picking up a Mediterranean diet, try setting yourself goals like eating at least one serving of dark, leafy greens per day, a variety of fruit, and some nuts and legumes for those healthy fats. You should be aiming towards nine servings of produce per day–it might seem like a lot, but this way of eating could give you the boost of phytochemicals and nutrients that your body needs!
Be sure to contact a medical professional for advice on your health and wellbeing. With the Qured app, you can see a doctor at a time and location of your choice. Download the app today -> onelink.to/jtygac.