A greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower mortality in adults over 65. This is one of the main conclusions of a study led by Cristina Andrés-Lacueva, head of the Research Group on Biomarkers and Nutritional & Food Metabolomics of the University of Barcelona. The paper has been carried out in collaboration with the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) of the United States.
According to the conclusions, the analysis of dietary biomarkers in plasma and urine can contribute to the individualized food assessment for old people. The study has been carried out during twenty years in a total of 642 participants (56% women) aged over 65 or more and which enabled researchers to obtain complete data on food biomarkers.
During the twenty years of monitoring, there were 425 deaths (139 due to cardiovascular diseases and 89 due to cancer-related causes). Once the models were analyzed, the score of the Mediterranean diet using the biomarkers was inversely associated with all causes of death.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that’s based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, are the foundation of the diet. Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occasionally.
Healthy fats instead of unhealthy ones
Olive oil is the primary source of added fat in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil provides monounsaturated fat, which lowers total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat.
Fatty fish, such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These polyunsaturated fats help fight inflammation in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and lower the risk of stroke and heart failure.
This study highlights the use of dietary biomarkers to improve the nutritional assessment and guide a customized assessment for older people. The study confirms that an adherence to the Mediterranean diet assessed by a panel of dietary biomarkers is inversely associated with the long-term mortality in older adults, which supports the use of these biomarkers in monitoring evaluations to study the health benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet.
Story Source: University of Barcelona