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Mediterranean Diet Leads To Longer Life

Date:
April 25, 2005
Source:
British Medical Journal
Summary:
The Mediterranean diet is associated with longer life expectancy among elderly Europeans, finds a study published online by the British Medical Journal.
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The Mediterranean diet is associated with longer life expectancy among elderly Europeans, finds a study published online by the British Medical Journal.

The Mediterranean diet is characterised by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, and cereals; a moderate to high intake of fish; a low intake of saturated fats, but high intake of unsaturated fats, particularly olive oil; a low intake of dairy products and meat; and a modest intake of alcohol, mostly as wine.

Current evidence suggests that such a diet may be beneficial to health.

The study involved over 74,000 healthy men and women, aged 60 or more, living in nine European countries. Information on diet, lifestyle, medical history, smoking, physical activity levels, and other relevant factors was recorded. Adherence to a modified Mediterranean diet was measured using a recognised scoring scale.

A higher dietary score was associated with a lower overall death rate. A two point increase corresponded to an 8% reduction in mortality, while a three or four point increase was associated with a reduction of total mortality by 11% or 14% respectively.

So, for example, a healthy man aged 60 who adheres well to the diet (dietary score of 6-9) can expect to live about one year longer than a man of the same age who does not adhere to the diet.

The association was strongest in Greece and Spain, probably because people in these countries follow a genuinely Mediterranean diet, say the authors.

Adherence to a Mediterranean type diet, which relies on plant foods and unsaturated fats, is associated with a significantly longer life expectancy, and may be particularly appropriate for elderly people, who represent a rapidly increasing group in Europe, they conclude.

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The above story is based on materials provided by British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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British Medical Journal. "Mediterranean Diet Leads To Longer Life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050425111008.htm>.
British Medical Journal. (2005, April 25). Mediterranean Diet Leads To Longer Life. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050425111008.htm
British Medical Journal. "Mediterranean Diet Leads To Longer Life." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/04/050425111008.htm (accessed May 30, 2015).

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