While past research has shown that following the Mediterranean diet improves one’s chances for living longer, a group of researchers from Boston and Greece have, in the first study of its kind, investigated the importance of individual diet components and their impact on longevity. The researchers reviewed data collected from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which followed 23,349 healthy Greek men and women for 8.5 years, specifically looking at their eating and how closely they adhered to a traditional Mediterranean diet.
At the beginning of the study, participants completed questionnaires asking about their diet and lifestyle. They were also periodically interviewed throughout the study. Their diets received a score of 0 to 10, depending on how closely they followed a traditional Mediterranean eating plan. In addition, participants were asked about their health, whether they smoked, their level of physical activity, and whether they’d ever been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
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Among the 12,694 participants who had Mediterranean diet scores of 0-4, there were 652 deaths; there were only 423 deaths among the 10,655 participants who had scores of at least 5. Overall, the researchers, who included Dimitrios Trichopoulos, the Vincent L. Gregory Professor of Cancer Prevention of the Harvard School of Public Health; Antonia Trichopoulou, Professor in the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology at the University of Athens; and Christina Bamia, Ph.D., lecturer in the University of Athens Medical School, concluded that people who more closely followed the Mediterranean diet had a lower chance of dying from cancer or from all causes. They also found that specific aspects of the diet may be more strongly linked to longevity: high intake of vegetables and olive oil, low intake of meat and moderate use of alcohol. The study also claims, however, that in a Mediterranean diet high in fish, seafood and cereals and low in dairy products, those factors were not indicators of longevity.
“The dominant components of the Mediterranean diet score as a predictor of lower mortality are moderate consumption of ethanol, low consumption of meat and meat products, and high consumption of vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil and legumes,” wrote the researchers in the British Medical Journal. The Mediterranean diet consists of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, whole grains, fish, moderate alcohol, a high ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats (ample olive oil) and lean meat (chicken), with dairy and red meat used more as a side dish.
—Dr. Bob Goldman
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Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations. Dr. Goldman has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University; as an Affiliate at the Philosophy of Education Research Center, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, He is Clinical Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea Medical University; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Central America Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Goldman holds the positions of Visiting Professor, Udayana University School of Medicine, Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Huazhong University of Science & Technology Tong Ji Medical School, China; Visiting Professor, The Wuhan Institute of Science & Technology, China; Visiting Professor at Hainan Medical College, China; and Visiting Professor, School of Anti-Aging, Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, UCSI University, Malaysia. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He has overseen cooperative research agreement development programs in conjunction with such prominent institutions as the American National Red Cross, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the FDA's Center for Devices & Radiological Health.
Dr Goldman was awarded the 2012 LifeTime Achievement Award in Medicine &Science. Dr. Goldman is the recipient of the 'Gold Medal for Science, the Grand Prize for Medicine, the Humanitarian Award, and the Business Development Award. He received honors from Minister of Sports and government Health officials of numerous nations. In 2001, Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Dr. Goldman the International Olympic Committee Tribute Diploma for contributions to the development of sport & Olympism.
In addition, Dr. Goldman is a black belt in karate, Chinese weapons expert, and world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records, he has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of his past performance records include 13,500 consecutive situps and 321 consecutive handstand pushups. Dr. Goldman was an All-College athlete in four sports, a three time winner of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Physical Fitness Award, was voted Athlete of the Year, was the recipient of the Champions Award, and was inducted into the World Hall of Fame of Physical Fitness. Dr. Goldman was awarded the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldman is Chairman of the International Medical Commission overseeing sports medicine committees in over 184 nations. He has served as a Special Advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. He is founder and international President Emeritis of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the cofounder and Chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Goldman visits an average of 20 countries annually to promote brain research and sports medicine programs.