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Know More Mediterranean Diet May Reduce Frailty In Older Adults: Study

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Frailty is common in older adults, and a new study finds that a healthy, plant-based diet could help. Anindra Siqueira tells you more

An analysis of published research concludes that eating a Mediterranean diet may help reduce frailty in older adults. Frailty, which is common in older adults, leads to greater chances of suffering from injuries such as falls, fractures, hospitalisation and disability. Frailty is characterised by low energy, weight loss and decreased muscle strength.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and suggests that a diet rich in plant-based foods, such as legumes, whole grains, nuts and fruits and vegetables, may help keep elderly people healthy. And, following a Mediterranean diet involves eating more fruits and vegetables and healthy oils such as olive oil, as well as less protein.

The researchers looked at frailty risk in people aged 60 years and older, and its association with their sticking to a Mediterranean diet. Four studies were included in the meta-analysis covering more than 5,700 people, who were followed for an average of 3.9 years. It was concluded that a greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significantly lower risk of incident frailty in community-dwelling older people. “Our study supports the growing body of evidence on the potential health benefits of a Mediterranean diet, in our case for potentially helping older people to stay well as they age,” said Dr. Gotaro Kojima of University College London in the UK, who led the research team in this analysis.

However, while the meta-analysis adjusted for major factors, there may be other factors that are not accounted for. So, it is unclear whether such a diet alone can reduce a person’s risk of frailty in old age, but a Mediterranean diet definitely helps. The Mediterranean diet mainly involves eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, and replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil. Red meat should be eaten only few times a month at most, and fish and poultry should be eaten at least twice a week.

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