New research suggests that following the Mediterranean diet can prolong your life.
The Mediterranean diet has long been known as a healthy and manageable eating plan. It requires eating plant-based meals consisting of small amounts of lean meat and large amounts of vegetables, fruits, legumes, unrefined grains, olive oil, and fish. Marialaura Bonaccio, an epidemiologist at the Mediterranean Neuromed Institute, tells CNN News, “the Mediterranean diet is rich in many anti-inflammatory foods, so for example, generally olive oil and fiber, and also antioxidants.” Strong evidence over the last decades has been published showing the health benefits of following a Mediterranean diet, but this new study specifically focused on an older demographic.
The study found that closely adhering to such a diet was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of all-cause death among older adults. During a span of five years, researchers tracked the health and diets of 5,200 people aged 65 or older who were followed up with five years after the study. One point was granted to each participant for consuming a food group in the diet, such as fruit and nuts, vegetables, legumes, fish, cereals or a ration of more monounsaturated than saturated fats, and for moderated alcohol intake. With the data, researchers found that a one-point increase in each person’s Mediterranean diet score was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, as well as specifically from coronary artery disease. Each one-point increment linked to a five percent lower risk of death from all causes. Bonaccio reports, “We found that one of the most important food groups is the consumption of monounsaturated fats – the main source is extra virgin olive oil, mainly – over the saturated fat consumption.” This shows that changing what you eat really can be associated with prolonged life.