Everyone wants to know the secret to longevity, and the answer often depends on what you put into your body. Food and the right type of diet will always be key, but that doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of boring meals, experts say
Image: Getty Images/Image source)
Leading a relatively disease-free life is the dream of many.
As you enter your golden years, it may be possible to enjoy this time in a healthy way, but the foods you eat will be the deciding factor.
Studies have shown that living in a hotter climate, where the pace of life is much slower, and a more balanced lifestyle can increase your life expectancy.
For those of us unable to move abroad, adjusting our diet is an important way to reduce age-related diseases and increase longevity.
That’s where one of the most popular diets comes in, bursting with freshness and flavor while helping to fight age-related diseases.
What is the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean Diet is a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and peas, unrefined grains, olive oil and fish.
It keeps dairy, meat and saturated fats to a minimum. And you can have a glass of red wine with dinner without cheating.
Diet has been consistently linked to health benefits, including reducing the risk of obesity, and it may lower your risk of chronic problems like cardiovascular disease.
Scientific studies on this type of diet show that average life expectancy can be extended – as we have seen by looking at Mediterranean countries, which tend to have good levels of longevity – and also a better quality of life in their aging populations.
In many countries, fresh fruits and vegetables are widely used to prepare tasty, healthy meals.
Frozen ready meals and canned goods are not really common.
Seafood is also widely available at a good price, which means it’s easier to incorporate life-enhancing omega-3 oils into your diet.
Mediterranean diet for brain health
A Mediterranean-style diet may help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Researchers found that a diet high in unsaturated fats, fish, fruits and vegetables and low in dairy and red meat helps cleanse the brain of the protein build-up associated with memory loss and dementia.
Study participants involved in the research performed better on cognitive tests and showed less shrinkage in brain volume and protein biomarkers associated with Alzheimer’s, further proving how diet can help improve brain health.
Mediterranean diet for hhealthy weight
Many foods in the Mediterranean diet are high in antioxidants, and a diet high in antioxidants has been found to provide health benefits that are associated with a significant reduction in weight gain.
A growing body of research is also confirming that the good fat in olive oil doesn’t make you fat.
Of course, as with anything, moderation is always best, but olive oil contains monounsaturated fats that are good for overall health and the waistline.
The main health benefits of a Mediterranean diet include:
- Prevention of heart disease and stroke
- So that you remain agile
- Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s
- Halving the risk of Parkinson’s
- increase in longevity
- Protection against type 2 diabetes.