Scientists from Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet may prevent frailty.
The research is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Courtney L Millar et al.
Defined as a recognizable state of increased vulnerability resulting from a decline in function across multiple physiological systems, frailty affects 10–15% older adults, and leads to other health issues.
Although the general benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet are well known, its role in the reduction of frailty in older Americans who do not normally consume such a diet was unclear.
In the study, the team showed that consuming a Mediterranean-style diet may prevent the development of frailty with aging.
The study included 2,384 people from the Framingham Offspring Study with Mediterranean-style dietary pattern score and antioxidant intakes [vitamin C, E, and total carotenoids].
The team found each unit higher score on the Mediterranean Style Dietary Pattern Score (i.e., higher adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet) reduced the risk of frailty by 3%.
The study also examined whether specific antioxidants (carotenoids, vitamins E, and C) found in a Mediterranean-style diet are related with frailty.
Higher intake of carotenoids (an antioxidant commonly found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables) had the strongest association with reduced risk of frailty development in middle-aged and older men and women.
Each 10-mg higher total carotenoid intake reduced the odds of frailty by 16%. Vitamin E and C were not meaningfully linked to frailty prevention.
The Mediterranean-style diet encourages eating fruits and vegetables.
The team says increasing the intake of brightly colored fruits and vegetables that are rich in carotenoids, as well as other bioactive compounds, may ultimately affect the health of older adults.
If you care about nutrition, please read studies that vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, and vitamin K may lower your heart disease risk by a third.
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