According to a recent study, the older the elderly follow food systems inspired by the systems of the Mediterranean countries, the less likely they become with time.
The study team analyzed data on nearly 6,000 older persons who participated in 4 studies, 3 of which were conducted in Mediterranean countries and one in Asia.
“Growing numbers of the world’s population live until the 1980s and beyond, and there is great interest in knowing how to keep people healthy and independent with age,” said lead author Kate Walters of Reuters Health. ”
“Some people who have accumulated health problems with aging may be weakened, which makes them feel symptoms such as lack of energy, muscle weakness, decreased appetite, weight loss and the general feeling that they are getting slower and have difficulty,” said Walters, a researcher at London University College UK. In recovery after disease. ”
This is linked to the possibility of hospitalization or dependence on the care of others. “We have studied ways to prevent this, including diet and exercise.”
There is “much research on exercise, but there is much less research about the role of the diet and its different types, such as the Mediterranean diet,” she said.
Traditional food patterns
The Mediterranean diet relies on traditional food patterns in Greece and southern Italy, including vegetarian foods such as vegetables, legumes and nuts, as well as fish and seafood, Walters and her colleagues wrote in the Journal of the American Society of Gerontology. The main source of fat in this system is olive oil instead of animal fat.
The study re-analyzed data from studies previously published in China, France, Italy and Spain. These studies recorded the participants’ diets according to their commitment to the principles of the Mediterranean food systems.
Walters said participants in the studies were in their 70s and 80s on average, suggesting that older people follow these diets may be helpful in maintaining health and self-reliance.
A different view
But Michael Bogajski of the Department of Medicine (Aging) of the New York-based Montefiore Health System, who did not participate in the study, said other factors may be the cause of differences in risk of attenuation among study participants Linked to the person following the diet rather than the system itself.
“For example, olive oil, fish, nuts, fruits and fresh vegetables may be expensive. And those who can afford to buy these foods may also be able to get better health care. ”
He added that they may also have higher education or health knowledge, and are therefore more likely to eat more and exercise, which may reduce their risk of debilitation.
But he added that the results of the study were “interesting” and that there was strong evidence to support Mediterranean food systems to avoid cardiovascular disease.