Thursday, 27 September 2018 11:45

The Mediterranean diet contributes to increase life expectancy

The results of a recent publication indicate that the Mediterranean diet can significantly reduce the mortality in elderly individuals.

During a follow up of eight years, Italian researchers of the Moli Sani Study analysed the relationship between the traditional Mediterranean diet and mortality among 5000 participants above 65 years old. In addition, they also carried out a meta-analysis of other epidemiological studies published in several countries with a total of 12,000 participants.

The results clearly show that a traditional Mediterranean diet (rich in fruit, vegetables, fish, legumes, olive oil and moderate consumption of wine with the meals) decreases by 25% the risk of mortality in elderly people.

Previous studies have already shown that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the mortality risk among the general population. What is new about this research is the focus on the population aged 65 and over. The subsequent meta-analysis confirmed that the more individuals followed a Mediterranean diet, the lower their overall mortality risk is; this risk decreasing in a dose-response manner.

The foods that contribute to a greater protection within the Med Diet are those with high levels of monounsaturated fats (i.e. olive oil and fish) but also moderate wine consumption almost exclusively during meals. On the other hand, binge drinking and preference for beer instead of wine are not part of the traditional Mediterranean Diet.

The findings confirm - what has already been observed in numerous studies – that the moderate consumption of wine in combination with a Mediterranean food context can be protective for health.

The authors conclude that it is important to identify modifiable lifestyle factors that cannot only guarantee an increased life expectancy but also whether these additional life years are spent in good or poor health.

 

Bonaccio M et al 2018, Mediterranean diet and mortality in the elderly: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis, Br J Nutr, p. 1-14, doi:10.1017/S0007114518002179

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