Want to be genetically younger than your actual years? Of course you do, and the way to achieve it is by adopting the Mediterranean diet, and its mix of vegetables, olive oil, fresh fish and fruits, a new study has found.
The diet appears to stop our DNA from 'scrambling' as we age, and people who stick closely to the diet show fewer signs of ageing in their cells, say researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston.
The researchers analysed the blood samples from 32,825 women and compared the results to their diets. The women who stuck more closely to the diet had longer telomeres, protective caps at the end of our chromosomes, which store our DNA code. They prevent the loss of genetic information during cell division.
Normally as we age telomeres get shorter. The health of telomeres helps us measure cellular ageing, and their shortening has been related to a range of age-related diseases such as heart disease and cancers.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in vitamins, and this seems to provide a buffer against damage of our tissues and cells, the researchers say.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2014; 349: g6674)