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New research shows that the Mediterranean Diet may help slow the aging process, in addition to having a positive impact on heart health. The basis of the diet – not eating processed foods, limiting red meat and shaping meals around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans – “appears to protect a person’s DNA from damage that naturally occurs with aging,” according to facts cited in a recent CBS News story.
“Many of the foods that make up the Mediterranean Diet, like nuts, olive oil and fish, are rich in omega-3 fats, which are both heart protective and anti-inflammatory. This diet is also rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals that protect your body and keep you healthier, which may in turn help you live longer,” explained Amy Bowen, a clinical dietitian with WakeMed Cary Hospital. “It’s important to note that in this study, no one food from the diet stood out as promoting longevity. Eating a variety of foods from the Mediterranean Diet will help you ensure that you’re getting all the benefits this diet offers. While the study does have some limitations, the results further support the benefits of following the Mediterranean Diet to improve health and promote longevity.”
Here are some basics of the Mediterranean lifestyle:
The Mediterranean diet encourages fat from healthy sources like fish, olive oil, and nuts, but it is still possible to overindulge. Be sure to avoid the common pitfalls of the American diet, including excess fat, salt, meat, sweets and large portion sizes.
With questions for the dietitians, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For individual nutrition counseling, call WakeMed Cary Hospital Outpatient Nutrition Services at 919-350-2358.
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