The Mediterranean diet consistently has been linked with an array of health benefits, including decreased risk of chronic disease and cancer. Until now, however, no studies had associated the diet with longer telomeres, one of the biomarkers of aging.In a study published Tuesday online in The BMJ, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet correlated with longer telomeres.Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes that get shorter every time a cell divides. Shorter telomeres have been associated with decreased life expectancy and increased risk of aging-related disease, while longer telomeres have been linked to longevity. Telomere shortening is accelerated by stress and inflammation, and scientists have speculated that adherence to the Mediterranean diet may help protect against that effect.“To our knowledge this is the largest population-based study specifically addressing the association between Mediterranean diet adherence and telomere length in healthy, middle-aged women,” explained Immaculata De Vivo, an associate professor in the Channing Division of Network Medicine at BWH and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the senior author of this study. “Our results further support the benefits of adherence to this diet to promote health and longevity.”The researchers analyzed 4,676 disease-free women from the Nurses’ Health Study who had completed the food-frequency questionnaire and whose telomere lengths had been measured. They found that a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with longer telomeres, and that even small changes in diet made a difference.“Our findings showed that healthy eating, overall, was associated with longer telomeres. However, the strongest association was observed among women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet,” explained Marta Crous Bou, a postdoctoral fellow in the Channing Division of Network Medicine and the first author of the study.De Vivo notes that future research should be aimed at determining which components of the Mediterranean diet drive this association. This would allow researchers to gain insight into the biological mechanism, as well as provide a basis for increased public education for informed lifestyle choices.
1 Kitson says Tony Pulis despised Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger has said he was “complete surprised” when he heard of Tony Pulis’ departure as Crystal Palace boss just days ahead of the opening day of the Premier League season.The Eagles’ plans for the new campaign, which starts at Arsenal in Saturday’s late kick-off, have been thrown into disarray after Pulis left the Selhurst Park club late on Thursday.The Welshman was named the top flight’s manager of the year last term, having guided the Eagles from the bottom of the table to relegation survival following his appointment last November.And following Palace’s 11th-place finish, Wenger revealed there had been no indications of any issues when he caught up with Pulis at a pre-season Premier League managers’ meeting at the start of the week.“It was a complete surprise to me and what kind of consequence that will have on Crystal Palace, I don’t know,” said Wenger, who is the longest serving manager in the top flight.“The only thing I can say is that he’s done a remarkable job last season and he made a miracle. I don’t really know why he left, but it took me by surprise.“I have never seen that [a manager leave so close to start of season] before, so you can always be surprised.“I was at a managers’ meeting on Monday with Tony Pulis and nothing indicated that he would not be here [on Saturday afternoon].”Wenger added: “Maybe Tony Pulis was the manager of the season last year because he took the maximum out of his team during the period he was there – that is the real job of the manager.”