A diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, potatoes, legumes, blue fish, pasta, and meat seems to counteract frailty onset in older people.
A Spanish study on 1872 non-hospitalized older people (60 years of age or more) has assessed the correlation between dietary habits and the frailty onset.
Two dietary patterns were identified: the first was called the “prudent” pattern due to the high consumption of olive oil, vegetables, potatoes, legumes, blue fish, pasta, and meat; and the second was called the “Westernized” pattern because of the high consumption of refined bread, whole dairy products, and red and processed meat, as well as the low intake of whole grains, fruit, low-fat dairy, and vegetables.
The dietary pattern called “prudent” was more efficient in preventing and delaying the frailty onset than the “Westernized pattern”. The “Westernized” pattern was associated with higher risk of unintentional weight loss and reduction of walking speed, two components of frailty.
In previous studies dietary patterns consistent with the “prudent pattern” of the present study were associated with a reduction in the risk of several components of frailty and with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, cognitive impairment and depression.
The “prudent pattern” is different from the Mediterranean diet. “Prudent” model excludes the consumption of alcohol. Although some studies report benefits derived from moderate alcohol consumption, it is to be considered that older people usually take more than one medications that could interact negatively with alcohol.
Meat is an important source of proteins. In prudent dietary pattern each kind of meat is allowed (red, white and processed) coherently with emerging evidence that suggest a protecting role of proteins on frailty.
In conclusion a diet rich in olive oil, vegetables, potatoes, legumes, blue fish, pasta, and meat seems to counteract frailty onset in older people. However clinical trials should test whether a “prudent” pattern is effective in preventing or delaying frailty.
LINK TO THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Leòn-Munoz L., Garcìa-Esquinas E., Lòpez-Garcìa E., et al. “Major dietary patterns and risk of frailty in older adults: a prospective cohort study”. BMC Medicine, 2015;13:11.