The aging population is rapidly increasing all over the world. This results in significant implications for the planning and provision of health and social care. Aging is physiologically characterized by a decrease in lean mass, bone mineral density and, to a lesser extent, fat mass. The onset of sarcopenia leads to weakness and a further decrease in physical activity. An insufficient protein intake, which we often observe in patients of advanced age, certainly accelerates the progression of sarcopenia. In addition, many other factors (e.g., insulin resistance, impaired protein digestion and absorption of amino acids) reduce the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in the elderly, even if the protein intake is adequate. Inadequate intake of foods can also cause micronutrient deficiencies that contribute to the development of frailty. We know that a healthy eating style in middle age predisposes to so-called “healthy and successful” aging, which is the condition of the absence of serious chronic diseases or of an important decline in cognitive or physical functions, or mental health. The Mediterranean diet is recognized to be a “healthy food” dietary pattern; high adherence to this dietary pattern is associated with a lower incidence of chronic diseases and lower physical impairment in old age. The aim of our review was to analyze observational studies (cohort and case–control studies) that investigated the effects of following a healthy diet, and especially the effect of adherence to a Mediterranean diet (MD), on the progression of aging and on onset of frailty.
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