The Mediterranean diet is now scientifically proven to help you live longer by protecting your DNA.
Telomeres are a protective cap, like the plastic at the ends of shoelaces, trailing off chromosomes and keeping them from fraying and causing the genetic code they contain to become corrupted. The longer the telomere, the longer a person is expected to live. (Telomeres are halved in length between infancy and adulthood, then halved again by the end of life.)
After a food survey of more than 4,600 women, a blood test showed that those who ate what most closely resembled the Mediterranean diet showed significantly longer telomeres. On a nine-point scale to rank how Mediterranean their diet was, researchers found that each notch closer added an average of 1.5 years of life.
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The diet consists mainly of:
The Mediterranean diet has long been linked with health benefits including lowering the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, and shorter telomeres have been found in smokers, the obese and drinkers of sugary beverages.
Convinced? We asked Aglaia Kremezi, author of the new cookbook “Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts,” to share a recipe with Metro readers.
Recipe: Roasted Potatoes with Garlic, Orange and Mustard
⅔ cup olive oil
4 to 6 cloves minced garlic (to taste)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1½ tablespoons dried oregano or thyme, crumbled
1½ teaspoons salt, or more to taste
2 teaspoons Maraş pepper or a good pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (plenty of freshly ground black pepper will also suffice)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ to 1 cup fresh orange juice, as needed
3 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved, or any baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch cubes
2 oranges, washed, halved, and cut into thick slices
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano and/or
5 thyme sprigs
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a food processor or blender, combine the olive oil, garlic, mustard, dried oregano, salt, Maraş pepper, cumin, turmeric, lemon juice and ½ cup orange juice. Pulse to get a thick sauce.
Place the potatoes and orange slices in a single layer in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and pour the sauce over them. Using two spatulas, toss well to coat the pieces generously.
Cover loosely with a piece of parchment paper and bake in the lower part of the oven for 40 minutes. Take out of the oven, uncover and toss. The potatoes should be bubbly and easily pierced with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the pan is dry, add a bit more orange juice and toss.
Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes more or until the potatoes are cooked through, with nicely browned edges. If the potatoes are fully cooked but lack color, place the pan under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the potatoes turn golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh oregano and/or thyme sprigs.
Serve immediately with a green salad, feta, any aged cheese or grilled halloumi.