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Study Finds the Best Diet to Increase Lifespan and Ward Off Chronic Disease


olive oil A research group from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, publishing in the Annals of Internal Medicine has found that middle-aged women who followed one popular eating plan not only increased their lifespan, but also avoided physical or cognitive impairments and chronic illnesses in older age.

The Mediterranean diet, which mainly consists of high amounts of plant foods, beans, nuts, cereals and seeds, fish and poultry, and olive oil as the main source of dietary fat, provides a plethora of vegetables, fruits and monounsaturated fats that have repeatedly been shown to fight most chronic diseases ranging from diabetes and dementia to stroke and cardiovascular disorders.

Overall Healthy Eating Pattern from a Mediterranean Diet Shown to Extend Healthy Lifespan

To set up this study, researchers examined the diet and medical records of 10,000 women participating in the Nurse’s Health Study, aged between their late fifties and early sixties. The women were followed for a period of fifteen years and were free of major chronic diseases at the outset of the study. The participants provided details about diet and health in the form of an initial questionnaire with periodic updates during the course of the study.

Lead study author, Dr. Cecelia Samieri commented, “We found that greater quality of diet at midlife was strongly associated with increased odds of good health and well-being among individuals surviving to older ages. These data may have an especially important role in promoting a healthy diet. Maintaining physical, cognitive, and mental health with aging may provide a more powerful incentive for dietary change than simply prolonging life or avoiding any single chronic disease.” The scientists concluded that those who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were more likely to live past age 70 without heart disease, diabetes or other chronic diseases. They also were more likely to be classified as “healthy-agers” than those who didn’t follow the diets closely or at all.

Emphasize Fresh Vegetables and Fruits and Eliminate Processed Junk Carbs to Live a Disease-Free Lifestyle

It come as no big surprise that eating a diet largely void of sugar, refined and processed carbohydrates and protein sources as well as hydrogenated fats can help to promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent many chronic diseases. The fact that this wisdom is finally being touted by mainstream researchers, known primarily for heralding ‘junk science’ that pushes the interests of Big Pharma and mega-giant food concerns, is a welcome sign.

Although this particular study followed only women, researchers indicated there was no reason to believe that the same results would not convey to men following the diet as well. Extensive research from prior studies has come to the same conclusion. Interestingly, there is no particular component of the Mediterranean diet that can be ascribed to the longevity results, but rather the overall healthy diet pattern has been demonstrated to have a greater impact rather than any individual food.


John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and diet, health and nutrition researcher and author with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives. Discover the latest alternative health news concerning diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and weight loss at My Optimal Health Resource

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