Healthy Diet in middle aged women = Healthy Aging

 

Middle-aged women following a healthy Mediterranean-type diet — with an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, moderate amounts of alcohol, and little red meat — have much greater odds of healthy aging later on, a new study reports.

“In this study, women with healthier dietary patterns at midlife were 40% more likely to survive to age 70 or over free of major chronic diseases and with no impairment in physical function, cognition or mental health,” said lead study author, Cécilia Samieri, PhD, Institut pour la Santé Publique et le Developpement, Université Bordeaux, France.

This new study adds to growing research on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet recently reported. Various studies have shown that this diet may contribute to reduced fasting glucose concentrations and lipid levels in those at risk for diabetes, may lower the risk for cardiovascular events and stroke, and improve cognition.

The new study was published in the November 5 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The analysis included 10,670 participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, which began in 1976 when female nurses aged 30 to 55 years completed a mail-in survey. Since then, study participants have been closely followed on a regular basis.

In 1980, participants completed a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) that asked how often on average they consumed standard portions of various foods. This questionnaire was repeated in 1984 and 1986 and then every 4 years.

To assess dietary quality at midlife, researchers averaged information from the 1984 and 1986 FFQs. They calculated scores on 2 diet indexes.

In 1992, 1996, and 2000, participants completed the Medical Outcomes Short-Form 36 Health Survey, a questionnaire that evaluates 8 health concepts, including mental health and physical functioning.  Scores from the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status, an adaptation of the Mini-Mental State Examination, were used to evaluate cognitive health. From 1995 to 2001, a cognitive study was administered to participants aged 70 years or older.

Investigators separated “healthy” from “usual” aging on the basis of 4 health domains.

Overall, 11.0% of the participants were considered healthy (and so were free of chronic diseases, such as cancers, myocardial infarction, and diabetes, and with no limitation in cognitive function, mental health, and physical function), and the remaining participants were considered usual agers.

Several health domains were typically impaired among the “usual” agers, said Dr. Samieri. “For example, 33% had both chronic diseases and limitations in cognitive, physical, or mental health; 64% had only limitations in cognitive, physical, or mental health; and 3.4% had only 1 or more chronic diseases.”

The analysis revealed that greater adherence at midlife to the mediterranean diet was strongly associated with greater odds of healthy ageing.

 

via Healthy Diet, Healthy Aging.

Mediterranean Diet Slows Atherosclerosis Progression

 

High adherence to a Mediterranean diet appears to slow the progression of carotid plaque (fat deposition in the carotid arteries), a PREDIMED substudy suggests.

Investigators also found attenuation of plaque progression in the Mediterranean diet arm of the study that included supplementation with nuts and no such change in the other intervention arm, which included supplemental extra virgin olive oil.

This study was presented at the European Atherosclerosis Society 2013 Congress .

PREDIMED was a large  trial that randomized 7447 patients at high cardiovascular (CV) risk (but no CV disease) to a control diet (including advice to reduce dietary fat) or Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts).

 

 

After 4.8 years, the risk of major CV events (MI, stroke, death from CV causes) was reduced by 30% in the Mediterranean groups combined, compared with the control diet. The Mediterranean diet group assigned to the extra virgin olive oil supplementation saw a 30% reduction, while those in the nut supplementation group saw a 28% reduction, both compared with the control group.

 

Imaging Insights

A total of 61 patients in the control group, 57 in the MedDiet plus supplementary olive-oil group, and 46 in the MedDiet plus nuts group underwent carotid ultrasound imaging at baseline and after a minimum of two years on their assigned diet. They looked at plaque volume and carotid-artery intima thinkness.

They saw a significant reduction in carotid plaque in the  MedDiet group. There was delayed progression in the olive-oil group, and slight regression in the nuts group.”

Though the patient volume invloved in the trial was less, it suggested that a mediterranean diet rich in nuts could slow down atherosclerosis and also reduce CV disease and mortality.

 

via Mediterranean Diet Slows Atherosclerosis Progression.

Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, olive oil and 7 glasses of wine a week! prevents heart disease and stroke!

This is the largest randomized trial to date. The Mediterranean diet has been studied previously in randomized trials but not in a trial as large as this!

It is fascinating that this was a study of more than 7400 individuals who were randomly assigned to 3 different diets. Two were Mediterranean diets enriched with either extra-virgin olive oil or nuts and other Mediterranean foods, both including more than 7 glasses of wine per week. The control diet was a low-fat diet, which some people have argued is not an ideal control. There was very good compliance with the diets in this large number of people for many years. The primary endpoint was death, heart attack, or stroke. There was a very important significant reduction of this cluster endpoint in the Mediterranean diet groups. Particularly noteworthy, even by itself, was the reduction in stroke.

So what does the Mediterranean diet consists of?

The Mediterranean diet is a modern nutritional recommendation inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of southern Italy, Greece and Spain. The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly as cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of meat and meat products. (Source: from Wikipedia).

So go on!

Fruits, veggies, legumes,

7 glasses of wine a week,

nuts,

salads with olive oil dressing

should do the trick!

via Topol: ‘Evidence Is Compelling’ on Mediterranean Diet.