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Originally published February 4 2008

Mediterranean Diet May Be the Secret to Longevity

by Neli Stoyanova

(NaturalNews) The Mediterranean diet can actually prolong life. According to Dr. Panagiota N. Mitrou, from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland and currently at the University of Cambridge in the U. K., there is a "strong evidence for a beneficial effect of higher conformity with the Mediterranean dietary pattern on risk of death from all causes, including deaths due to cardiovascular disease and cancer, in a U.S. population".

The study used data from the National Institutes of Health's AARP Diet and Health Study which was based on surveys returned between 1995 to 1996 and a follow-up period of 5 years. Researchers looked at diet and mortality over 5 years in over 200,000 men and 180,000 women between the ages of 50 to 71.

Men and women whose eating patterns were closest to the Mediterranean diet were 21 percent less likely to die over five years compared to those whose diets were least Mediterranean-like.

Smokers who were not overweight, were found to nearly halve their risk of death. Deaths from any cause were significantly lower for both men and women in the Mediterranean diet group along with a significantly lower risk for death from cancer or cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Mitrou and colleagues suggest in their report published in the December 10, 2004 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, that the Mediterranean-style of eating (rich in fish, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts and olive oil and low in red meat) has antioxidant and blood fat lowering effects.

A longitudinal study conducted in 11 European countries (The Healthy Aging HALE study) between 1988 and 2000 involved 1,507 apparently healthy men and 832 women, aged 70 to 90 years. Those participants who adhered to a Mediterranean diet, moderate alcohol use, physical activity and were non-smokers had a lower risk of all-cause mortality and mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancer - regardless of age, sex, years of education, or body mass index (as an indicator of being overweight or obese).

Data showed that individuals of age 70 to 90 years eating a Mediterranean-like diet, who were non-smokers, moderately consumed alcohol, and engaged in physical activity were associated with a more than 50% lower rate of over all and cause-specific mortality.

The protective effect of the Mediterranean diet on asthma and respiratory allergies was studied among 700 children living on the Greek island of Crete (data published in Thorax 4/2007). The effect of the Mediterranean diet was strongest on allergic rhinitis, but it was also protective against asthma.

About the author

Neli Stoyanova, MD is a medical researcher in the field of obesity and cardiovacular diseases. She has a particular passion for disseminating quality medical information and acts in an advisory capacity to numerous journals and health related web sites. Her writing about healthy life style solutions and anti-aging tips for baby boomers can be found at her website: http://www.stress-fat-heart-solutions-for-bo... where you can also subscribe to her free monthly ezine.

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