Easy Ways To Follow The Mediterranean Diet For Better Health

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If you’re in need of a little sunshine, we have the solution – the Mediterranean Diet.Bursting with fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, pulses, olive oil and even the odd glass of wine, you can’t fail to be tempted by the delicious recipes that await you in this new plan. An old favourite of health and diet gurus everywhere, and long advocated as the healthiest way for all the family to eat, new research is backing up the claim by one popular olive oil spread that “At the table, no-one grows old”.

Until recently, most studies looking at the benefits to health of a Mediterranean diet have been small or based only on the Greek population. However a major European study published earlier this year has found that following a Mediterranean diet can extend your life by up to one year. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) looked at diet, lifestyle, medical history, smoking and physical activity habits of 74,607 men and women ages over 60 in 9 countries – Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

All the participants were healthy with no history or evidence of heart disease, stroke or cancer at the beginning of the study. They were followed up for an average of just over 7 years, by which time 4,047 had died.The researchers compared the death rates of the participants with their dietary patterns. Study participants were given a score based on adherence to a Mediterranean diet, with higher scores for those who ate the most foods linked with such a diet.

Overall, a higher dietary score was linked to a lower overall death rate. For every two-point increase in the score, the death rate fell by 8%; a three-point increase by 11% and a four-point increase by 14%. This means that a healthy man of 60 who closely followed a Mediterranean diet could expect to live around one year longer than a man of the same age who did not follow such a diet.This effect was strongest in Greece and Spain, most likely because people in these countries follow a “true” Mediterranean diet. However the research team concluded that “the modified Mediterranean diet is beneficial to health across populations.”

A Mediterranean diet is high in fruit, veg, nuts, seeds and grains as well as olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats. Fish is often eaten instead of red meal and alcohol intake is moderate rather than binge-style drinking. In another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year, Italian researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet is beneficial for people with metabolic syndrome, which is an early indicator of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk.So what are you waiting for?! It’s not too late to begin this delicious, healthy way of eating. Click here to turn over a new leaf and start your new way of eating today.

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