Does your diet consist of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes and grains? What about your olive oil and fish, or even that glass of red wine that you sneak in at home after a long day working hard? Because perhaps you did not know it, but with all these actions and choices you are also taking good care of your telomeres!
These foods make up the base of the Mediterranean diet. In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, the Mediterranean Diet was shown to be significantly associated with longer telomere length. This may be because the foods eaten in this diet are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. 4,700 registered nurses, aged 30-55 participated in the study. The nurses’ diets were scored based on how closely they followed the Mediterranean diet and then the evolution of their telomere length in their blood was analyzed.
Women with higher diet scores had longer telomere lengths. Shorter telomeres are often correlated to increased risk of aging-related diseases. This seems one of the resons why countries where Mediterranean diet is mostly followed such as Spain, Italy and Greece also have some of the lowest rates of heart disease and increased life expectancy!
If you want to discover more about this positive relation, have a look at the following CNN video where Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses the importance of telomeres and the Mediterranean diet: “Eating a Mediterranean diet may be your key to living longer”.