Mediterranean diet proven to reduce risk of frailty in older individuals

16/01/2018 - 07:00
Latest research proves that there may be a link between following a Mediterranean diet and reducing the risk of frailty in older individuals.

Carried out in the UK by University College London professionals Dr. Kate Walters and Dr. Gotaro Kojima, the study looked to see if following a healthy diet might decrease one’s risk of frailty, and included over 5,500 people from France, Spain, Italy, and China.

Having analysed evidence from all published studies, Dr. Walters said: “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.”

Claiming “a diet emphasizing primarily plant-based foods - such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts - may help keep people healthy and independent as they age,” it may also reduce other symptoms including: low energy, weight loss, weak muscle strength, fractures, disability, dementia, and premature death.

Dr. Kojima explained: “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.”

That said, it is not yet known if other characteristics may have helped protect respondents from frailty or if it was strictly from following a Mediterranean diet. Walters summarised: “While the studies we included adjusted for many of the major factors that could be associated - for example, their age, gender, social class, smoking, alcohol, how much they exercised, and how many health conditions they had - there may be other factors that were not measured and we could not account for.

“We now need large studies that look at whether increasing how much you follow a Mediterranean diet will reduce your risk of becoming frail.”

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