Why a Mediterranean diet 'protects against all major diseases'

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet helps you live longer by protecting against all the major chronic diseases, a study has shown.

Those who eat lots of fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and whole grains are less likely to die prematurely, according to the research. The diet was also found to be an effective defence against heart disease, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Scientists looked at 12 international studies using a nine-point scale to assess how closely 1.5million volunteers stuck to the Mediterranean diet.

Those with higher scores were shown to be less likely to die of any cause, or have a major chronic disease, says the study published today in the British Medical Journal Online First.

The diet has been thought to improve heart health and stave off cancer because it is high in fruit, vegetables, fish, nuts, whole grains and healthy fats such as those in olive oil, while low in red meat and dairy products. Drinking alcohol, particularly red wine, is encouraged in moderation. Populations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Spain and Italy, tend to eat these foods.

Researchers from the University of Florence, Italy, looked at the previous studies, which collectively included more than 1.5million participants. Their dietary habits and health were tracked for follow-up periods ranging from three to 18 years.

Source - Daily Mail

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