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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
January 2012

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Increased Longevity

Adhering to a Mediterranean diet may increase longevity for the elderly, according to a recent study.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the healthy eating and lifestyle habits of the people living in southern Italy, the Greek island of Crete and other areas of Greece in the early 1960s. The diet generally includes: fruits, vegetables and unsaturated "good" fats, particularly olive oil. Olive oil has been associated with benefits such as lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart disease. Proponents claim that the Mediterranean diet can be use to decrease the risk of heart-related problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks and Alzheimer's disease.

In a recent study, diet and mortality rates were evaluated for 1037 elderly participants. The researchers found a significant link between maintaining a modified Mediterranean diet, with emphasis on high consumption of whole grain cereals and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and a reduced risk of death.

In a similar study from September 2011, researchers found that adhering to four identified healthy lifestyle factors was significantly associated with a reduced risk of premature death for both men and women. Adhering to the Mediterranean diet alone was linked to significantly lower risk of death in women, but not in men.

Those with allergies to latex may also be cross-allergic to chickpea or other foods from the Leguminosae family, which are common in the Mediterranean diet. There is a risk for weight gain due to a high intake of fats. Consult a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

For more information about the Mediterranean diet, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.


  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  2. Tognon G, Rothenberg E, Eiben G, et al. Does the Mediterranean diet predict longevity in the elderly? A Swedish perspective. Age (Dordr). 2011 Sep;33(3):439-50. View Abstract
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