Nutritious Bytes

Dr. Debé's blog on metabolically tailored nutrition and wellness

The longevity diet

If a drug could do all this, everyone would know about it

Can the diet you eat really affect the aging process? Yes! The choices you make, day in and day out, will greatly influence how long you live and how healthy you are. For example, studies of identical twins have found diet and lifestyle to account for 70% of cases of cancer.

The dietary approach with the most impressive research for improving longevity and health in people is the Mediterranean diet. It has been found to reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, cancer...and all causes.

Regarding the Mediterranean diet, the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2004 was the following: "Among individuals aged 70 to 90 years, adherence to a Mediterranean diet and healthful lifestyle is associated with a more than 50% lower rate of all-causes and cause-specific mortality." In other words, elderly people, age 70 to 90 years, who followed a Mediterranean diet, exercised, didn't smoke, and consumed moderate alcohol, were twice as likely to continue living as their counterparts who did not adhere to these practices!

Other studies on the Mediterranean diet have found it to:
     · Reduce serum cholesterol, triglycerides, Apolipoprotein B, and other cardiovascular risk  factors 
     · Reduce LDL oxidation (free radical damage to cholesterol that leads to clogged arteries)
     · Increase levels of glutathione, the most important intracellular antioxidant
     · Reduce blood pressure
     · Improve arterial stiffness
     · Reduce blood sugar
     · Improve insulin function
     · Reverse the Metabolic Syndrome
     · Produce weight and fat loss
     · Reduce inflammation
     · Reduce cognitive decline that occurs with aging
     · Reduce risk to Alzheimer's disease
     · Improve calcium utilization
     · Improve erectile dysfunction in men with the Metabolic Syndrome
     · Improve sexual function in women with the Metabolic Syndrome
     · Improve self-reported mental and physical health     
     · Reduce the risk of suffering a second heart attack by 70%
 What is the Mediterranean diet? It is a dietary approach characterized by being high in unrefined whole plant foods: vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. It includes olive oil, fish, lean meats, and a little red wine. The vast array of natural plant chemicals found in these foods has a powerful, beneficial effect on genetic expression and metabolism.

I teach my patients how to follow a Mediterranean diet. Let me know if you would like some help.