We’ve talked about the Mediterranean diet before and how it’s a healthy way to eat. Well, this diet is back in the news because a new study has shown another reason the Mediterranean diet is good for you.
Another Reason the Mediterranean Diet is Good For You
The study revealed that eating this diet for just one year changed the microbiome of older adults. Not only did it change these microbiomes, but changed them in ways that improved brain function and helped them live longer.
The diet stopped or slowed down the inflammatory chemicals that lead to loss of cognitive function. It also prevents the development of chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and atherosclerosis.
Why are Microbiomes a Big Deal?
How much food do you think passes through a human body’s lifetime?
That’s a lot of food, and that food exposes us to different bacteria. Bacteria, both good and bad, plays a huge role in our health. It decides how well we absorb nutrients, the functionality of our immune response, and our energy and metabolism levels.
As we age, the amount of microbes in our stomach reduces. A poor diet is normal among older adults in long-term residential care, and those who live alone. There are many reasons why this happens. Things like lack of appetite, dental issues, transportation issues are just a few.
When the diversity of bacteria lessens, “inflamm-aging” happens. It’s when age-related inflammatory processes start that can lead to a variety of diseases.
Closer Look at the Study
Researchers looked at the stomach microbiomes of 612 older people from France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
They put 323 on a special diet based on Mediterranean principles, which means lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, olive oil, fish, and little red meat, sugar, and saturated fats.
The remaining participants were asked to eat how they usually do.
After a year, those who followed the Mediterranean diet saw positive changes to the microbiome in their digestive systems. The loss of bacterial diversity slowed, and the production of potentially harmful inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein and interleukin-17 were reduced.
There was growth of beneficial bacteria linked to improved memory and brain function. The diet also appeared to boost “keystone” species, which is critical for a stable “gut ecosystem.” It slowed signs of frailty like walking speed and handgrip strength.
Nationality didn’t matter. The findings were similar, no matter where people lived, their age, or weight.
You can learn more about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet from our first article on it.
Read more about the new study here.