My Book The Power of 5: The Ultimate Formula for Longevity & Remaining Youthful provides important information that I highly recommend to my patients every day. I was intrigued, but not surprised when I recently came across an article in one of my medical journals that reinforced one of my beliefs.
The article was titled, Adherence to Mediterranean Diet Reduces Incident Frailty Risk. One of the benefits of following the recommendation in my book is remaining youthful. The opposite of remaining youthful is becoming frail, so even before reading the article, I recognized that the information might be supportive of my recommendation to follow a Mediterranean diet.
What is Frailty?
I can assure you that it is something you want to avoid!
Frailty is a condition common to older adults and its prevalence is considered to increase with age. It is generally defined as a state of greater vulnerability due to age-related accumulation of deficits and low physiological reserves across multiple systems. Frailty can predict negative outcomes in older adults including falls, fractures, hospitalizations, disability, dementia, and premature death. Since frailty is definitely something we would all like to avoid, we should embrace opportunities to remain youthful such as dietary lifestyle changes.
How do we do remain youthful?
The authors of the study published in the Jan. 11, 2018 Journal of the American Geriatric Society, and observations over time, recognize that nutrition plays a crucial role in the complex cause of frailty. The authors and others define the Mediterranean diet as based on foods of Greece and Southern Italy in the 1960s. It is a pattern in which there is an abundance of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, cereals, potatoes, legumes, nuts and seeds) olive oil, dairy products, and fish and poultry with a limitation of eggs and meat. Wine is consumed in moderation.
The authors conclude that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with significantly lower risk of incident frailty in community-dwelling older people.
As I read the article, I was struck by how it supported one of the 5 recommendations I have been dispensing to my patients over the years and how easy it is to follow. It is a simple and crucial way to avoid frailty and remain youthful.
Another consideration: many of my patients (as well as our family) are moving to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle. There are multiple benefits supporting overall health including reducing levels of inflammation in the body, which is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer.
I encourage all who read this and want to remain youthful to enjoy a small glass of red wine with their Mediterranean or whole food plant-based lifestyle.
To a long and healthy life,
David Bernstein, MD