Diet is an important factor in determining one’s health. Following the right diet can lead to better health. According to researchers, it may also help extend a person’s lifespan. In the case of middle-aged women, following a Mediterranean diet can help them live longer and healthier lives.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston analyzed diet and medical records provided by 10,670 women in a larger Nurses’ Health Study. The women were in their late 40’s and early 60’s and were provided with questionnaires, asking about their current health status, including dietary habits and overall physical well-being. The study was conducted between 1984 and 1986. In addition, the women did not show any signs of 11 of the major chronic illnesses. After 15 years, the participants were again requested to return and answer a follow-up questionnaire. An assessment of their mental and physical well-being was also conducted.
The results of the follow-up study indicate that middle-aged women who adhered to a heart-friendly Mediterranean diet have a 40 percent chance of living past the age of 70. A Mediterranean diet is a type of diet characterized by low intake of processed meat and dairy products but with high consumption of fish, olive oil, fruits and vegetables and beans along with other similar options. Moderate intake of alcohol is also permitted. This type of diet is considered as healthy for the heart and is generally rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Women who followed a Mediterranean diet also were less likely to develop chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. According to Cecilia Samieri, lead researcher of the said study, “Women with healthier dietary patterns at midlife were 40 percent more likely to survive to age 70 or over.”
The said study is considered as observational and the cause and effect link between the actual diet and to the extended lifespan is not yet that conclusive. But previous studies have already indicated that such a diet do have an impact on health. But the assumption that it directly affects the lifespan still remains to be proven. Findings of the observational study are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.