Some food groups in the Mediterranean diet can help people live longer, according to the latest research published on the British Medical Journal website.
The study reveals that eating more fruits, vegetables, nuts, pulses and olive oil and drinking moderate amounts of alcohol along with limited amounts of meat is linked to a longer life.
This study was the first to examine the importance of individual components of the Mediterranean diet.
Professor Dimitrios Trichopoulos from the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed over 23,000 men and women who were given dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. Their diets were rated from 0 to 10 based on the level of conformity to a traditional Mediterranean diet.
The study found that when a high intake of vegetables and a low consumption of meat along with moderate levels of alcohol were excluded from the rating system, the benefit of following a Mediterranean diet was significantly reduced.
Trichopoulos also indicated that there is an advantage in combining some of the components of the Mediterranean diet such as olive oil and lots of vegetables.
The study concludes that the main reason why the Mediterranean diet is linked to a longer life is moderate intake of alcohol and a low consumption of meat, with a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, olive oil and legumes.