The Mediterranean diet has been named as one of the healthiest diets, reducing the mortality risk of people over 65 years of age by 25 per cent. A study by the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention of the I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed, in Molise, Italy, analysed the relationship between the traditional Mediterranean diet and mortality in a sample of more than 5,000 people over 65 years of age participating in the Moli-Sani Study and followed-up for 8 years. In addition to the data from the Moli-sani Study participants, Italian researchers also analysed other epidemiological studies published in several countries, for a total of 12,000 subjects.
Results clearly indicate that the Mediterranean diet is an authentic life-saving shield, able to significantly reduce the risk of mortality in elderly people.
This effect is maintained despite the Mediterranean diet has changed considerably over the years, with pantries full of supermarket products and with a lifestyle very different from the one followed by original Mediterranean farmers.
The foods that, in the context of a Mediterranean-type dietary model, are able to offer greater protection include a high consumption of monounsaturated fats (widely present in extra virgin olive oil) and fish, but also a moderate consumption of alcohol, preferably during meals.
First author of the study, Marialaura Bonaccio said, "The novelty of our research is to have focused our attention on a population over 65 years old. We already knew that the Mediterranean diet is able to reduce the risk of mortality in the general population, but we did not know whether it would be the same specifically for elderly people. "
The full findings are present in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Here are some ways by which you can follow the Mediterranean diet:
1.Change your cooking oil: If you cook your food in vegetable or coconut oil you should start using olive oil. Olive oil is rich in mono saturated fatty acids which helps in improving the cholesterol levels. You can add olive oil to your salads or even cooked food like chicken.
2. Vegetables: The Mediterranean diet usually focuses on vegetables. Whether raw, roasted, grilled, baked or steamed vegetables should be included in your diet.
3. Fruits: Healthy fruits like grapes, figs, olives and avocados are all packed with fiber and antioxidants. You should consume as many fruits as possible from seasonal to locally grown in your diet.
4. Nuts: Almonds, cashews and pistachios are packed with nutrients and should be included in your diet. Nuts on the other hand are rich in fibre, minerals and potassium and are always a better option than the processed or packaged goods.