A recent study has found that eating a Mediterranean diet may be your key to living longer by keeping you “genetically young.” The diet has been a staple of the people in the Mediterranean region for centuries. It is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and peas, olive oil, fish and red wine. It is generally low in dairy and red meat.
The study found people who ate a Mediterranean diet had longer telomeres. Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of our chromosomes which contain all of our genes. Think of them as the plastic tips at the end of your shoe laces. Telomeres naturally shorten with age each time your cells divide. The protective caps will shorten faster as a consequence of being overweight, eating too much sugar, lack of exercise, stress, environmental and household pollutants, and lack of fish oil in your diet. This is one mechanism that leads to chronic disease and a shorter lifespan.
The bottom line is if you eat a Mediterranean diet, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, your telomeres will shorten slower, make you “genetically younger,” and help you live longer.