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Mediterranean diet and the hallmarks of ageing

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Shannon, Ammar Ashor, Dr Filippo Scialo, Dr Gabi Saretzki, Dr Carmen Martin-RuizORCiD, Natassia Robinson, Professor Emma Stevenson, Professor Bloss Stephan, Dr Mario Siervo, Professor John Mathers



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Nature Publishing Group, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Ageing is a multifactorial process associated with reduced function and increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Recently, nine cellular and molecular hallmarks of ageing have been identified, which characterise the ageing process, and collectively, may be key determinants of the ageing trajectory. These include genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, deregulated nutrient sensing, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence, stem cell exhaustion and altered intercellular communication. Healthier dietary patterns reduce the risk of age-related diseases and increase longevity and may influence positively one or more of these hallmarks. The Mediterranean dietary pattern (MedDiet) is a plant-based eating pattern that was typical of countries such as Greece, Spain, and Italy pre-globalisation of the food system and which is associated with better health during ageing. Here we review the potential effects of a MedDiet on each of the nine hallmarks of ageing, and provide evidence that the MedDiet as a whole, or individual elements of this dietary pattern, may influence each hallmark positively—effects which may contribute to the beneficial effects of this dietary pattern on age-related disease risk and longevity. We also highlight potential avenues for future research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shannon OM, Ashor AW, Scialo F, Saretzki G, MartinRuiz C, Lara J, Matu J, Griffiths A, Robinson N, Lillà L, Stevenson E, Stephan BCM, Minihane AM, Siervo M, Mathers JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Year: 2021

Volume: 75

Pages: 1176-1192

Print publication date: 01/08/2021

Online publication date: 29/01/2021

Acceptance date: 07/12/2020

Date deposited: 29/01/2021

ISSN (print): 0954-3007

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5640

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41430-020-00841-x


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Funder referenceFunder name
ARUK-PRRF2017-006Alzheimer`s Research UK
MR/T001852/1Medical Research Council (MRC)