By Dr. Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO   I have kept an eye on the growing body of evidence that supports eating a Mediterranean diet to improve health and reduce mortality.  The Mediterranean diet seems to maintain its place at the

By Dr. Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO

I have kept an eye on the growing body of evidence that supports eating a Mediterranean diet to improve health and reduce mortality.  The Mediterranean diet seems to maintain its place at the forefront of healthful diets, but not without some bumps and bruises along the way. A recent study sheds some light on the health promoting potential of this diet. A Dutch cohort study was conducted over 10 years (1986-1996) on 120,852 men and women ages 55-69 years at baseline.  Using self-administered questionnaires, the investigators pieced together an interesting trend. They found that the Mediterranean diet (high intakes of plant proteins, whole grains, fish, and monounsaturated fat, moderate alcohol intake, and low intakes of refined grains, red meat, and sweets) was inversely related to mortality in women, but not in men. However, when they used a lifestyle score which was made up following the Mediterranean diet, not smoking, maintaining normal weight and doing regular physical activity, then they observed a strong reduction in mortality in both men and women.  The converse was shown also; men and women with unhealthy lifestyles aged faster and died earlier.

Take-Away: 

Health results from the synergism of eating well, exercising, maintaining healthy weight and not smoking. That certainly sounds like good common sense to me and is another reminder that there really are no magic bullets for creating health and healthful longevity, but rather wellness is the result of a sustained and well-rounded commitment to healthful living.

Citation: van den Brandt P, Am J Clin Nutr, July 2011. Epub ahead of print.

 

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