Study suggests it’s not too late to benefit from a Mediterranean diet

September 11, 2018

A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition suggests that adhering to the Mediterranean diet can help prolong your life, even for those aged 65 and older.

The researchers tracked the health and diets of 5,200 people aged 65 and older in the Molise region of Italy. The adults were enrolled in the study between 2005 and 2010, and they were followed up with until December 31, 2015. Each adult’s food intake in the year before enrollment was assessed in a food frequency questionnaire. The researchers measured each adult’s adherence to the Mediterranean diet by giving them one point for consuming a food group in the diet, such as fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumes, fish, cereals, or a ratio of more monounsaturated than saturated fats, and for moderated alcohol intake.

During an average of eight years of follow-up, there were 900 deaths among the participants. The researchers found that a one-point increase in each person’s Mediterranean diet score was associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, as well as specifically from coronary artery disease. Closely adhering to such a diet was associated with a 25% lower risk of all-cause death.

The researchers then conducted a meta-analysis on six previously published studies. In the meta-analysis as well as the researchers’ own new results, they found that each one-point increment in the Mediterranean diet score was associated with a 5% lower risk of death from all causes.