The ends of chromosomes, called telomeres, get shorter as an individual ages. This leads to the loss of genetic material and has been implicated as one of the causes of aging. Now a study out of Boston, and published in the British Medical Journal, reports that the Mediterranean diet helps prevent the shortening of telomeres.

The study followed almost 5,000 nurses over more than a decade to develop its findings. The Mediterranean diet, high in fruits, vegetables, poultry and fish has long been touted by some as a healthier alternative to the classic Western diet, high in red meat and starch. Some caution that the results of the study are inconclusive, and it should be pointed out that common foods like coffee have been shown to shorten telomeres, while alcohol consumption lengthens them.

The BBC expands on the particulars of the study, here: