Mediterranean Diet Extends Lives

Menu featuring fish, fruits, veggies, nuts lowers risk of deadly diseases
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2007 11:55 AM CST
Sicilian chef Filippo La Mantia, an expert in Mediterranean cuisine, speaks during an interview in a restaurant in downtown Rome, on Thursday, June 21, 2007. New research shows the Mediterranean diet...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Mediterranean diet—rich in fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts but low in meat and dairy—could help Americans live longer, Reuters reports. Adults whose diets were closest to the Mediterranean ideal were 21% less likely to die over a 5-year period than those whose diets were least Mediterranean-like, according to a new study involving nearly 400,000 people.

The benefit of the diet was especially strong for normal-weight smokers, who nearly halved their risk of death. "These results provide strong evidence for a beneficial effect of higher conformity with the Mediterranean dietary pattern on risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and cancer, in a US population," said the lead researcher.