How to live longer: The ‘gold standard’ diet proven to increase life expectancy

Long life expectancy is found in certain parts of the world, with some countries boasting impressive health figures and others looking rather dismal. Life expectancy can fall due to problems like war, disease and poor health. A certain diet enjoyed by many countries has been proven to help increase life expectancy.

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The Mediterranean diet is rich in heart-healthy olive oil, vegetables, and wine in moderation.

The diet has long been hailed as one of the most healthiest diets in the world and has contributed to Spain’s long-lived population.

With an average life expectancy of 82.8, the Mediterranean diet remains the gold standard for living longer and healthier.

The Mediterranean diet has proven beneficial effects not only regarding metabolic syndrome, but also on its individual components including waist circumference, HDL-cholesterol levels, triglycerides levels, blood pressure levels and glucose metabolism, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

What exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

The diet is commonly characterised by a high intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pulses, healthy fats from nuts and olives, herbs and spices, along with seafood a few times a week, a moderate consumption of dairy, eggs and wine, avocados and a limited intake of meat and sweets.

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What the science says about the diet?

One measure of longevity often cited in research is telomere length. In a nutshell, telomeres are caps found at the ends of chromosomes that protect DNA. When they become too short, a cell becomes old or dysfunctional.

This is why shorter telomeres are associated with a lower life expectancy and an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.

Research has shown that a greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is linked to longevity through maintaining longer telomere length.

Other research has shown that for each one-point increment in the Mediterranean diet score (which measures adherence to the diet), the risk of death from any cause drops by four to seven percent.

To “Mediterranean-ize” one’s meals, replace butter with nut butter or avocado on toast, and trade the fat for extra virgin olive oil to sauté vegetables.

Snack on fresh fruit with nuts, olives, or roasted chickpeas, and keep meals simple.

A balanced Med-diet dinner may consist of fish served on a bed of greens tossed in extra virgin olive oil with a side of roasted potatoes or quinoa and a glass of pinot noir.

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