Researchers have found that the Mediterranean diet is associated with longer telomere length, which is considered to be a marker of slower ageing.
Telomeres are DNA sequences situated at the end of chromosomes that help to protect the physical integrity of the chromosome.
Telomeres naturally shorten as people age, halving during the progression from infancy to adulthood, then halving again during the onset of old age.
Shortened telomeres are associated with a decreased life expectancy and increased rates of developing age-related chronic diseases.
Previous research has suggested that following the Mediterranean diet can reduce overall mortality, incidence of chronic diseases – such as major cardiovascular diseases – and increase the likelihood of healthy ageing.