Middle aged women who follow a Mediterranean diet may live longer and reduce their risk of physical or cognitive impairments, as well as chronic illnesses as they age, according to a study published in the Nov. 2013, Annals of Internal Medicine.
A Mediterranean diet consists mainly of plants, beans, nuts, cereals, seeds, fish and poultry—and olive oil as the main source of dietary fat.
Though specific health advantages of a Mediterranean diet are well-documented, researchers analyzed 10,670 women in their 50s and 60s using data from the Nurses’ Health Study to evaluate the diets’ link between overall health and aging.
Researchers found that women who consumed a Mediterranean diet, or a similar diet, had a 40 percent increase in living past age 70, compared with those who did not follow the diet. They also were more likely to have an extended life span free of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases.