Mediterranean diet may reduce risk of frailty

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Previous research has described a host of benefits to following a Mediterranean diet, including lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. New findings suggest that the diet, based on food patterns typical of Greece and southern Italy in the 1960s, may also help protect older adults from becoming frail.

Researchers analysed evidence from studies examining associations between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and development of frailty in older individuals.The analysis included 5,789 people in four studies in France, Spain, Italy, and China. It showed that greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with significantly lower incident frailty risk than poorer adherence.

The investigators said the Mediterranean diet may help older individuals maintain muscle strength, activity, weight, and energy levels. "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 author Dr Gotaro Kojima. However, the authors said larger studies are now needed to confirm the findings.

The research is presented in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society