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Popular Diet Prolongs Life by 2-3 Years: 4 Studies Conclusively Prove

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Mediterranean Diet

Researchers from the Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University announce that the results of 4 longitudinal studies conclusively prove that a popular, but underused diet results in prolonging life. Furthermore, their results demonstrate that it is never too late to integrate the diet to prolong your life and receive other health benefits.

In the first of three other related studies to be published in the near future, researchers from Gothenburg University announce that the popular Mediterranean diet has added years to the lives of their study participants.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds and cereals along with a high intake of olive oil combined with a low intake of saturated lipids, a moderately high intake of fish, and a low-to-moderate intake of dairy products (mostly in the form of cheese and yogurt). It also involves a low intake of meat and meat products as well as a regular but moderate intake of ethanol - primarily in the form of wine and generally during meals.

In a study recently published in the scientific Journal AGE, participants in a diet and longevity study consisting of thousands of 70-year-old Swedes who ate a Mediterranean diet were followed and compared to non-Mediterranean diet participants who typically ate more meat and other animal products. The study is known as the “H70 study” and took over 40 years to complete in the Gothenburg region of Sweden.

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What the researchers found was that those participants who regularly consumed a Mediterranean diet have a statistically significant 20% higher chance of living longer. This result far exceeds any previous findings linking diet to longevity. According to Gothenburg University, the researchers extrapolated the statistical numbers to actual years of longevity for the 70-year-olds in the study.

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“This means in practice that older people who eat a Mediterranean diet live an estimated 2-3 years longer than those who don’t,” says Gianluca Tognon, a scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg and lead author of the study.
Furthermore, their studies also confirmed other studies that drinking red wine instead of alcohol provides the best results toward longevity.

The results of their findings that a Mediterranean diet prolongs life is supported by three as of yet unpublished studies into Mediterranean diets and their health effects on study participants in Denmark, 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,” says Gianluca Tognon.

Reference: AGE 2011 September; 33(3): 439–450
Image source of Mediterranean Diet: Wikipedia