Mediterranean diet increases lifespan
The Mediterranean diet was linked to prolonged survival in two different studies spanning multiple age groups, according to findings recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
“We already knew that the Mediterranean diet is able to reduce the risk of mortality in the general population, but we did not know whether it would be the same specifically for elderly people,” Marialaura Bonaccio, PhD, epidemiologist at the Istituto Neurologico Meditteraneo Neuromed in Italy, said in a press release.
Researchers conducted a longitudinal analysis on the dietary habits of 5,200 participants of a previously existing cohort.
They found that for each one-point increase in a patient’s Mediterranean diet score, the risk for mortality from a variety of causes declined: all-cause mortality (HR = 0.94; 95% CI 0.9-0.98); coronary artery disease/cerebrovascular disease mortality (HR = 0·91; 95% CI, 0.83-0.99) and non-cardiovascular/non-cancer mortality (HR = 0.89; 95% CI, 0.81-0.96).
Bonaccio and colleagues used this information for the second part of their study: a meta-analysis comprising seven studies including 11,738 individuals older than 65 years.
They found for each one-point increase in Mediterranean diet score, the risk for all-cause mortality dropped 5% (4% to 7%).
“[These results are] of crucial importance especially in the light of the rapid shifting from the [Mediterranean diet] documented in recent years, which has been mainly experienced by the elderly, and also because the burden of health care costs associated with increased life expectancy strictly depends on whether additional life years are spent in good or poor health,” Bonaccio and colleagues wrote.
“A better understanding of lifestyle behaviors influencing longevity is of extreme interest for health administrators and governments for better tailoring their prevention strategies and policies,” they concluded.
For more articles on the potential positive and negative health consequences of various diet and food choices, see Healio’s Nutrition Resource Center, a compilation of articles containing the latest research on how nutrition affects health. Be sure to bookmark the page for future reference. – by Janel MillerDisclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.