In what might be good news for teetotalers, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that it’s not the resveratrol in red wine that increases the life span of cells of those following the Mediterranean Diet, but the fat in olive oil that activates the critical pathway which prevents age-related diseases. “This pathway has been linked to almost all of [aging diseases]. It’s the roots,” says Doug Mashek, Ph.D., a professor in the departments of medicine and biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics. His studies suggest that the benefits of olive oil are most pronounced when coupled with fasting, limiting caloric intake and exercising. “We found that the way this fat works is it first has to get stored in microscopic things called lipid droplets, which is how our cells store fat. And then, when the fat is broken down during exercising or fasting, for example, is when the signaling and beneficial effects are realized,” Mashek explains.