The Mediterranean diet helps curb the development of physical weakness and cognitive decline as we age. An international scientific group came to such conclusions, MedicalXpress reports.
The researchers note that as people age, the functioning of various body systems deteriorates and inflammation increases. The Mediterranean diet has a positive effect on the intestinal microflora and reduces the number of bacteria that cause aging.
Scientists conducted an experiment involving 612 volunteers, aged 65 to 79, who lived in France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK. For 12 months, some of them ate a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, fish and olive oil, but limiting their consumption of meat. The other group did not change their diet during the experiment.
It was found that the first type of diet prevents the loss of bacterial diversity of the intestinal microflora, and also increases the number of bacteria associated with "healthy" aging. These microorganisms positively affect walking speed, brain function and reduce the production of potentially harmful chemicals. The study results were not influenced by the age or weight of the patients.
The Mediterranean diet increases the number of bacteria essential for a stable "gut ecosystem", the study says. This is due to the fact that a large amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals begins to enter the body - copper, iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, vitamins B6, B9, C.
Scientists note that some older people may have problems with teeth or swallowing, so they need to select a diet based on their individual characteristics.