Older adults often show signs of frailty, and individuals are at high risk as they age. Most of the time, these “frail” older individuals can be negatively affected by symptoms such as low energy, weight loss, and weak muscle strength.

These symptoms can then cause serious health concerns like “falls, fractures, hospitalization, nursing home placement, disability, dementia, and premature death.” Among older adults, frailty is usually linked to a lower quality of life.

It is believed that nutrition can significantly impact the development of frailty. Dr. Kate Walters, along with Dr. Gotaro Kojima, from University College London, and their colleagues, set out to determine if observing a healthy diet can significantly minimize an individual’s risk of frailty.

For this study, the scientists examined data gleaned from published studies that looked into the possible connections between “adherence to a Mediterranean diet and development of frailty in older individuals.” The analysis took into account 5,789 people in four studies from China, France, Italy, and Spain.

Dr. Walters shares that they have uncovered evidence which showed that older adults who observed a Mediterranean diet “had a lower risk of becoming frail.” She continued, “People who followed a Mediterranean diet the most were overall less than half as likely to become frail over a nearly four-year period compared with those who followed it the least.

The researchers wrote that based on their findings, the diet could also help older individuals preserve their “muscle strength, activity, weight, and energy levels.” Dr. Kojima comments that their analysis backs the growing body of evidence which confirms the possible health benefits of a Mediterranean diet. He added that for their study, it was confirmed that the diet could help older adults stay healthy as they grow older.

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