Mediterranean diet linked to longer life

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2011, 13:00 PM IST

Washington: Mediterranean diet with a high content in fish and vegetables promotes a better and longer life, a new study has revealed.

This is the unanimous result of four studies by the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg. Research studies ever since the 1950s have shown that a Mediterranean diet, based on a high consumption of fish and vegetables and a low consumption of animal-based products such as meat and milk, leads to better health.

Scientists at the Sahlgrenska Academy have now studied the effects of a Mediterranean diet on older people in Sweden.

They used a unique study known as the ‘H70 study’ to compare 70-year-olds who eat a Mediterranean diet with others who ate more meat and animal products. The study took into consideration thousands of 70-year-olds in the Gothenburg region for more than 40 years.

The results showed that those who eat a Mediterranean diet have a 20 percent higher chance of living longer.

“This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated 2 3 years longer than those who don’t,” said Gianluca Tognon, scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

These results are supported by three further as yet unpublished studies into Mediterranean diets and their health effects: one carried out on people in Denmark, the second on people in northern Sweden, and the third on children.

“The conclusion we can draw from these studies is that there is no doubt that a Mediterranean diet is linked to better health, not only for the elderly but also for youngsters,” said Tognon.

ANI