- Reviewed by Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
Living a Mediterranean lifestyle — eating a particular diet and getting enough sleep and physical and social activity — has been linked over and over to reduced risks for chronic disease and early death. But most studies have involved people in Mediterranean countries, such as Spain. Now an observational study published online Aug. 8, 2023, by Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests what experts have long suspected: the lifestyle has benefits for people living in other parts of the world, too. Researchers, including some from Harvard, analyzed diet assessments and self-reported lifestyle habits of about 111,000 people (ages 40 to 75) in England, Wales, and Scotland. Participants were followed for up to nine years. People who adhered most closely to a Mediterranean lifestyle had a 28% lower risk of dying from cancer and a 29% lower risk of dying prematurely from any cause, compared with people whose lifestyles were most different from the Mediterranean pattern. The authors say the findings indicate that people outside Mediterranean countries can use their own locally available products to follow a Mediterranean-style eating pattern, which emphasizes olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains; moderate amounts of fish, poultry, cheese, and wine; and limited portions of red or processed meats.
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About the Author
Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter
About the Reviewer
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter
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