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Why Women Are Living Longer on the Mediterranean Diet

A new study links the MedDiet to longevity for women.

The ever-so-popular Mediterranean diet was voted the #1 diet in 2024 by the U.S. News & World Report's Best Diets rankings for seven consecutive years—and for good reason. What makes the MedDiet so successful is that it's truly a lifestyle that can be sustainable for the long haul. Plus, it's backed by scientific research and customizable for every individual's likes and dislikes.

This healthy eating regimen involves consuming whole, minimally processed foods, including fruits, veggies, fish, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and legumes. The diet's main source of fat is nuts and olive oil (typically extra-virgin). Items that are avoided on the MedDiet include a lot of red meat, sodium, processed oils, saturated fats, and high-sugar foods.

There are plenty of studies that back up the goodness of the Mediterranean diet. Research connects the diet to a wealth of health benefits, including being a preventative measure against cardiovascular diseases, decreasing metabolic-related issues and diabetes, preventing certain cancers, lowering the risk of mental disorders such as depression and cognitive decline, and so much more. The MedDiet can even help you lose weight.

For instance, a previous study found that older adults who maintained a low-calorie MedDiet and worked out to some extent up to six days each week lost a great deal of body fat (and belly fat) and gained muscle in a year's time. The individuals also kept the majority of the weight off for three years.

If those benefits aren't enough to encourage you to try the MedDiet lifestyle, a new study performed by researchers from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital may.

A recent study found that women who embrace the Mediterranean diet may live longer.

happy woman making salad in bright kitchen with fresh vegetables on countertop

If you want to live a longer existence, the MedDiet may be your key to longevity. The study, published in JAMA, observed over 25,000 women in the U.S. for a maximum of 25 years. Among those individuals, the mean age was 54.6. The participants who stuck with the MedDiet experienced up to a 23% decreased risk of death by any cause.

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According to the senior study author, Samia Mora, a cardiologist and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, "For women who want to live longer, our study says watch your diet. Following a Mediterranean dietary pattern could result in about one-quarter reduction in risk of death over more than 25 years with benefit for both cancer and cardiovascular mortality, the top causes of death in women and men in the U.S. and globally."

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Lead author of the study, Shafqat Ahmad, an associate professor of epidemiology at Uppsala University Sweden and a researcher in the Center for Lipid Metabolomics and the Division of Preventive Medicine at the Brigham, also pointed out, "Our research provides significant public health insight: Even modest changes in established risk factors for metabolic diseases—particularly those linked to small-molecule metabolites, inflammation, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, obesity, and insulin resistance—can yield substantial long-term benefits from following a Mediterranean diet."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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