Living a Mediterranean lifestyle may increase your lifespan

The Mediterranean way of life seems to tick all the boxes for a high quality of life, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, satisfying social interactions, and, of course, the art of the siesta. However, a recent research that for the first time looked at the possible health advantages of this lifestyle among people who did not reside in the Mediterranean area found that it may potentially be beneficial.

The benefits of the Mediterranean diet, which is distinguished by a healthy, balanced eating pattern, rich in fruit and vegetables, and complimented by whole grains, vegetable oils, and fatty fish, to the disadvantage of meat, fatty meals, and salt, have been the subject of many scientific research. Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid made the decision to broaden the scope of their study to include the whole Mediterranean diet. It’s interesting to note that the researchers examined non-Mediterranean residents’ lifestyle choices and statistics for the first time.

The research included 110,799 individuals from the UK Biobank cohort in England, Wales, and Scotland—nearby countries—who were between the ages of 40 and 75. The individuals’ behaviors were evaluated by the researchers using the Mediterranean Lifestyle Index (MEDLIFE), which takes into account a number of particular criteria, including their intake of items from the region’s cuisine, adherence to mealtime rituals, physical activity, social interactions, and rest time. Each of these factors led to a score indicating whether they adhered to this lifestyle or not. Nine years after the commencement of the study, these data were combined with those gathered from the individuals’ health follow-up.

lowered cancer and all-cause death risks

The study, which was written up in the medical journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, shows that adopting a Mediterranean lifestyle, which emphasizes rest, physical activity, and meaningful social connections, was linked to a lower risk of mortality. The Mediterranean diet is based on a healthy, balanced diet with more fruit, vegetables, and cereals, and fewer added salts and sugars. Participants who adopted this way of living specifically had a 29% reduced risk of death from all causes and a 28% lower risk of death from cancer than those who did not. The researchers note that although every facet of this way of life was linked to a decreased risk of death from all causes, the category of “physical activity, rest, and social habits and conviviality” was the most beneficial.

According to the research’s primary author, Mercedes Sotos Prieto, “this study suggests that it’s possible for non-Mediterranean populations to adopt the Mediterranean diet using locally available products and to adopt the overall Mediterranean lifestyle within their own cultural contexts.” This study is the first to show how this way of living increases life expectancy outside of the study area.

The health advantages of the Mediterranean diet have, however, already been emphasized by a multitude of studies. Two of the most recent studies found that it can reduce the effects of passive smoking and may be helpful in reducing the risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease. Regarding the Mediterranean diet in general, a recent study by scientists at University College London (UCL) and the Universidad de la Republica de Montevideo in Uruguay discovered that taking brief naps throughout the day may be good for the health of the brain.

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