Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Mediterranean diet linked to longer lifespan and better health

New research suggests that middle-aged women who follow a Mediterranean diet or similar may increase their lifespan and avoid physical or cognitive impairments and chronic illnesses in older age. This is according to study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The Mediterranean diet follows the eating habits of people living in Crete, many parts of Greece and Southern Italy.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the diet mainly consists of high amounts of plant foods, beans, nuts, cereals and seeds, fish and poultry, and olive oil as the main source of dietary fat.
Previous research has shown this diet to present many health benefits. Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting that the Mediterranean diet may reduce genetic stroke risk, while other research has shown it may improve memory and thinking abilities.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health say that although the diet has been linked to many health benefits in older adults, the role of the diet in overall healthy aging has been "inadequately studied."
To determine how the Mediterranean diet affects aging, the researchers analyzed 10,670 women using data from the Nurses' Health Study. The women conducted a dietary questionnaire between 1984 and 1986. At the point of the questionnaire, all women were in their late 50s or early 60s.
The questionnaires asked each participant how often on average they consumed a standard portion of certain foods. Approximately 15 years later, the same women were asked to carry out a health and lifestyle questionnaire.

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