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For years now, scientists have wondered why people who eat a Mediterranean diet — a diet centered around olive oil and foods like fish, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and very little red meat — live longer lives and remain active well into their 70s and 80s.

Well, according to a new study from the NU-AGE project, which is funded by the European Union, the wholesome foods found on this diet may help the human body at the molecular level and ultimately slow aging and decrease bone loss.

Researchers found that when 1,142 participants from across five European countries were made to eat a strictly Mediterranean diet, they experienced a drop in the level of C-reactive proteins, which are associated with age-related inflammation, found in their bodies. What’s more, those suffering from osteoporosis, or bone weakening, saw decreased bone loss thanks to the Mediterranean diet, over the course of the study. Since at least 20% of women will develop osteoperosis and bone loss by age 70, this is fantastic news.

There is still a lot out there to be learned about the health benefits of the diet, of course. For instance, the researchers haven’t yet analyzed how the Mediterranean diet affects insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular health, digestive health, quality of life, and other parameters of health, so they cannot yet definitively prove that the Mediterranean diet is the best diet for the aging human body. But since a high C-reactive protein is often associated with the development of heart disease, the news could end up being great.

Even without complete results as to how a Mediterranean diet can improve or affect health, these results are extremely encouraging and in line with what many of the world’s health organizations are saying. The human body needs less sugar, less red meat, healthier fats, and more veggies and fruit. If more people can make the switch, it’ll make life a whole lot sweeter.