Close adherence to traditional Mediterranean diet promotes longevity

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Benefits of following the diet long-term appear to increase with age

The traditional Mediterranean diet features an abundance of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and cereals and regular use of olive oil (monounsaturated fats), moderate amounts of fish and dairy products (mostly yogurt or cheese), small amounts of red meat (low intake of saturated fats) and moderate consumption of alcohol, usually in the form of wine and consumed at meals. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece, assessed the dietary habits of study participants from all regions of Greece and found that those who strongly adhered to a Mediterranean diet had improved longevity compared to study participants who did not follow that diet as closely. Using a ten point scale to measure adherence to the diet, a two point increase was related to a 25 percent reduction in total mortality among the participants. The study was supported by the Europe Against Cancer Program of the European Commission, the Greek Ministry of Health and the Greek Ministry of Education. The results appeared in the June 26, 2003 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.