The Life Stretching Mediterranean Diet
Those who follow a Mediterranean diet combined with exercise, not smoking and keeping to a healthy weight could live up to 15 years longer, researchers say. The ten-year study by the University of Maastricht followed 120,000 men and women who were aged 55 to 69 in 1986. A Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, olive oil, fruit, nuts, fish and whole grains, and low in meat and alcohol. The effect is strongest in women, who can live an extra 15 years compared to the least healthy people, while healthy men can enjoy eight years more. Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands said keeping to the four healthy lifestyle factors can ‘substantially reduce’ the risk of an early death.
Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers looked at 120,000 men and women who were aged 55 to 69 in 1986. They calculated a ‘healthy lifestyle score’ based on smoking, exercise, weight and diet and followed the group until 1996.
A Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, olive oil, fruit, nuts, fish and whole grains, and low in meat and alcohol. Researchers found that combining the diet with exercise, keeping to a healthy weight and not smoking dramatically cut the risk of dying young.
Healthy: The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, olive oil, fruit, nuts, fish and whole grains, and low in meat and alcohol. Piet van den Brandt, professor of epidemiology at Maastricht University, who worked on the study, said: ‘Very few research studies worldwide have analysed the relationship between a combination of lifestyle factors and mortality in this way.
‘This study shows that a healthy lifestyle can lead to significant health benefits.
‘Furthermore, the effects of a Mediterranean diet were more evident in women than in men.
‘Within this diet, nuts, vegetables and alcohol intake had the biggest impact on lower mortality rates.’
Taken from The Daily Mail UK Newspaper