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A Mediterranean diet helps you live longer

Researchers have found that eating a Mediterranean diet helps you live longer and be healthier. Dr Cecilia Samieri, who examined data on 11,000 women, said “Those with healthier dietary patterns at mid-life were 40 per cent more likely to survive to the age of 70 and over.”

The Study, carried out by Dr Samieri and her team from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health tracked the 10,670 women from 1976 to 2000, concluding by examining the women in their late fifties and early sixties with no serious diseases.

The study examined two elements about the women’s diets. Firstly, how healthy their diet was considered to be generally.  Secondly they were given a score of 0-9 for how strongly Mediterranean their diet was considered to be.

From the original pool of 10,670 women those that were considered to be healthy agers made up just 1,171 women.

These healthy agers had an healthy diet score of 53.2 (out of 110), slightly above the 50.6 shown by average agers.

Healthy agers had a Mediterranean diet score of 4.5 versus 4.3 for average agers.

While this study did not include men, Dr Samieri said it would be likely that the same results would be found in a similar study for men.

While, those score differences might seem slight this should be seen as encouraging as it doesn’t take a huge shift in your diet to make a significant change. These healthy agers were also less obese than average, less likely to smoke and exercised more. These healthy agers had better overall physical and mental agility.  The study strongly suggests that a Mediterranean diet is a strong contributor to good general health, improving heart health and possibly helping to prevent cancer.

According to dietitian Joan Salge Blake, “It’s never too late to improve on your diet and lifestyle”.

I agree completely, a Mediterranean diet is both tasty and healthy, so you should consider trying to add more Mediterranean foods into your diet.  Greek Olive Oil and other Greek food is a perfect addition to your Mediterranean food repertoire!

Other Mediterranean foods you might wish to consider adding to your diet are fruit, vegetables, fish and nuts.  One thing to note about a Mediterranean diet is that it is typically low in red meat and dairy products.

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