Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mediterranean Diet Helps Women Live Longer, According to New Study

Women who follow a Mediterranean diet tend to live much longer than those who don’t, according to a new study.

The new study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, followed more than 25,000 women for 25 years, and found that those who consume a Mediterranean diet are 25 percent less likely to experience cardiovascular mortality and cancer, both of which are leading causes of death.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes minimally processed, plant-based foods and healthy fats.

mediterranean diet

For example, meals often consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, seeds, and whole grains. Extra-virgin olive oil is the main source of dietary fat and other types such as butter, are rarely consumed. Refined foods, in addition to sugary foods, are also avoided. Poultry, dairy, and eggs are also eaten less frequently.

Red meat such as beef and pork are only consumed occasionally and are often used as a condiment, as opposed to being the main dish. Rather, fish is the main source of protein and is typically eaten several times a week.

According to Dr. David Katz, the founder of True Health Initiative, adhering to the Mediterranean diet also increases an individual’s diet quality as they are more likely to consume vegetables, fruits, legumes, and less processed meats.

Due to the observational nature of the study, however, direct cause and effect cannot be proven. Still, the results are consistent with several other studies that have looked at the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

The Impact on Women

Previous studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of dementia, breast cancer, diabetes, depression, memory loss, and high cholesterol. It can also lead to a healthier heart and stronger bones, and facilitate weight loss.

mediterranean diet women

Despite all the studies, however, none have provided specific details on how the Mediterranean style of eating affects women.

For one thing, a women’s brain is different from that of a man’s on a molecular level. The size of their heart is also different from a man’s, and they have completely different symptoms for a heart attack. Not only that but their metabolism also works differently on alcohol and certain medications.

In the new study, biomarkers were taken from more than 25,000 healthy women between 1993 and 1996. They were once again evaluated between 2018 and 2023.

Results showed that those who consumed a Mediterranean diet had a 23 percent lower risk of early death compared to those who didn’t. They were also 17 percent less likely to die from cancer and 20 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.

fish
Seafood, such as fish, is the primary source of protein as opposed to red meats

The more an individual adhered to the Mediterranean diet, the greater their risk reduction. In fact, the study showed that each increase in adherence was associated with a 5 percent lower risk of dying from cancer or heart disease and a 6 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality.

Those who would like to start the Mediterranean diet are recommended to incorporate more legumes and veggies to each meal. They are also encouraged to consume all kinds and colors of vegetables in order to get the greatest benefits.

The veggies and legumes can be cooked or roasted with extra-virgin olive oil. Nuts and seeds should also be consumed regularly, though they can be higher in calories due to their fat content.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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