A recent European study suggest that adopting what is popularly known as the “Mediterranean Diet” could potentially help people live longer, healthier lives. Although it does not have a specific set of dietary requirements, the Mediterranean Diet is typically considered to be one made up of fish, nuts, fresh vegetables, olive oil and fruit – all popular culinary items in Italy and surrounding regions.
According to the study, conducted in Italy and published in the British Journal of Nutrition, those surveyed with a higher adherence to the Mediterranean Diet had a 25 percent lower risk of death compared to those who had a lower adherence. The study also concludes that even a modest increase in adhering to the diet could yield as much as a 6 percent decrease in risk of death from any cause. Those calculations were based on the participant’s age, sex, activity levels, socioeconomic status, smoking and body mass index (BMI).
A total of 5,200 individuals aged 65 or older from the Molise region in Italy were followed as part of the study and were recruited as part of a larger study between 2005 and 2010, and followed up until 2015. Those participants were given a questionnaire asking about their diet in the year leading up to the study and each was given a score of 0 to 9 based on how closely the person followed the Mediterranean Diet. Participants who scored from 7 to 9 saw the greatest benefits compared to those who scored 0 to 3.