The goal of life longevity for many is to live a long and healthy life with reduced worries of diseases and health ailments. It’s also to live a life of improved mental and physical wellness with reduced frailty and keeping the mind sharp. According to researchers, there is a diet that can help with all of these. What is it?
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Following the Mediterranean diet could help one not only live longer but also help keep the mind sharp and reduce frailty in old age.
Experts from the UK, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland wanted to see if following a Mediterranean diet for a year could improve participant’s microbiome and therefore increase life expectancy.
Researchers analysed the gut microbiome at the beginning and end of the 12-month diet period.
Stool samples were analysed from retired adults in five different countries and the results were startling.
Participants who adhered strictly to the Mediterranean diet experienced the greatest gain in desirable bacteria, while losing the most “bad” bacteria.
In other words, their microbiome was re-programmed.
The researchers observed an increase in the types of bacteria previously associated with indicators of reduced frailty, such as walking speed and hand grip strength.
A significant positive change was seen in the gut microbiome of those with reduced frailty.
As a result, their condition was slowed, the researchers said.
The researchers said the most striking finding was how strong the link was between an improved gut environment and markers of ageing.
The participants in the study followed either a diet rich in healthy fats, fruit and vegetables whilst the others continued eating their normal diet.
By analysing each participants stools they were able to discover that the Mediterranean diet boosted bacteria in the gut.
Trillions of bacteria live in the digestive tract and play an important role in health.
Of the thousands of species of gut microbes that live in the gut, some are healthy for the body – while others are not.
Following the Mediterranean diet the health and diversity of the gut microbes improved, preventing and treating conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases.
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What are microbiomes?
Both inside and out, the body harbours a huge array of micro-organisms.
The body contains single-celled organisms known as archaea as well as fungi, viruses and other microbes and together these are dubbed the human microbiota.
The microbiome weights two to three pounds and contains 10 times more cells than our own.
Microbiomes helps to break down food, provide key nutrients and even play a role in inflammation and the integrity of the intestinal tract.
Scientists studied a population of fruit flies and discovered that five to six days before death these flies had developed a ‘leaky’ gut.
This lead to harmful substances to seep into their body and changes to their bacteria hinting that the bacteria was the driving force of the decline.
When these flies had a reduction in their bacterial population, they experienced a significant boost to their lifespan.
Thus proving that having a healthy microbiome increased a person’s life expectancy and the Mediterranean diet greatly improves one’s microbiomes.
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