Research by Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Lincoln in Britain has revealed the long term effect of switching to a Mediterranean style diet and increasing the amount of exercise for a period of eight weeks. The short term life style changes had an impact for more than a year after stopping the regime.
The research study focused on health people over the age of 50. Participants were originally assessed over an eight-week period. One group was encouraged to consumer a Mediterranean diet in combination with exercise, while the other just took up exercise alone.
The combination of a change in diet and exercise lead to improved blood flow in cells in the inner lining of the blood vessels called the endothelial cells. The improvement lasted a full 12 months after participating in the program.
Researchers attribute the improvement to molecular changes as a result of the the Mediterranean diet. Traditional Mediterranean cuisine is based on olive oil, fruit, vegetables and salad, fish, legumes, wholegrain foods, wine and limited consumption of red meat.
Researchers believe the long-term health benefits observed after such a short intervention could be due to molecular changes associated with the Mediterranean diet. Traditional Mediterranean cuisine is based on olive oil, fruit, vegetables and salad, fish, legumes, wholegrain foods, wine and limited consumption of red meat.
“Preserving a patient’s endothelial function as they get older is thought to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, so these findings are very encouraging, said Dr Markos Klonizakis, a Research Fellow at Sheffield Hallam University. “Although exercise on its own can beneficial, other lifestyle factors such as nutrition play an important role as well. “Considering the scientific evidence already out there that a Mediterranean diet offers health benefits, it made sense to examine how such a diet, when combined with exercise, could affect the small veins of our body due to their important role in our overall well-being, in the longer-term.”
Markos Klonizakis, Ahmad Alkhatib, Geoff Middleton. Long-term effects of an exercise and Mediterranean diet intervention in the vascular function of an older, healthy population. Microvascular Research, 2014; 95: 103 DOI: 10.1016/j.mvr.2014.07.015