Eating a Mediterranean Diet Reduces Mortality

hh-4.jpgGreek salads? Olive oil? The anti-aging diet consumed in the Mediterranean is shown to improve health and wellness, increase longevity, and reduce mortality.

Eat, drink and be merry — as long as you do it Mediterranean style.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently published a prospective study in the Archives of Internal Medicine which confirmed that the consumption of a ‘Mediterranean diet’ benefits overall physical health, increases longevity and reduces overall mortality.

The five-year study involved over 214,000 men and 166,000 women. This diet consisted of fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and small amounts of meat and alcohol. A natural anti-aging diet high in vitamins, omega-3 fish oils, monounsaturated fats (primarily from olive oil), calcium and antioxidants, it also includes all essential amino acids.

Those who conformed most closely to the diet had lower overall mortality. The results showed that women who conformed to the diet had 12% fewer deaths from cancer and had a 20% lower mortality from ‘all causes.’ This meant that they were less likely to die from any disease, including cancer or heart disease, compared to those on the standard American diet.

In a separate study of 353 men, published in the American Heart Journal, half the men were instructed to eat a Mediterranean diet high in fish (containing EPA and DHA, highly beneficial omega-3 fats), foods rich in ALA (an omega-3 fat found in walnuts, flaxseed oil and various plants) and were told to drink wine. The other group ate a typical western diet, which also included fish, but is usually low in ALA.

After 27 months, the results were compared. Those men who followed the Mediterranean diet and drank wine had the highest levels of EPA and DHA, while those followed the diet alone still fared better than the non-drinkers or those who ate a western diet. The results of a diet high in ALA combined with some alcohol (as wine) seemed to suggest that alcohol may assist in the conversion of ALA to EPA.

Having higher levels of EPA in the blood correlates to lower triglycerides, lower total cholesterol, higher HDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure and less overall risk of cardiac death. Moderate amounts of wine consumption appeared to be comparable to eating fish, both leading to higher levels of heart healthy omega-3 fats in the blood.
The conclusion was that consuming larger quantities of ALA-containing foods, moderate amounts of wine and omega-3 fish oils leads to better heart health and reduced mortality from any and all causes.

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