How to live longer: Best diet to boost life expectancy – five foods to eat

There is no magical pill one can take to help them boost their life longevity, however, being vigilant with one’s food and lifestyle could have a massively positive effect. According to experts, the Mediterranean diet has many potential health benefits, including cancer protection and improving memory. A Mediterranean diet incorporates the traditional living habits of people from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions. What is the diet and what foods are you able to eat?

The diet encompasses a lot of vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil.

It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.

The NHS said: “You can make your diet more Mediterranean-style by:

  • Eating plenty of starchy foods, such as bread and pasta
  • Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Including fish in your diet
  • Eating less meat
  • Choosing products made from vegetable and plant oils, such as olive oil

A true Mediterranean diet is based on the region’s traditional fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seafood, olive oil, and dairy with perhaps a glass or two of red wine.

The inhabitants of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy eat like this and have rates of chronic disease among the lowest in the world and their life expectancy among the highest.

In a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal patients health and diet were monitored over the course of thirty years.

The study found that every three per cent increase in calories from plant protein was found to reduce risk of death by 10 per cents.

They found a reduced risk of early death of people who ate more plant-based protein and a higher risk in those who ate more animal proteins.

Mingyang Song, who worked on the study said: “Our findings suggest that people should consider eating more plant proteins than animal proteins, and when they do choose among sources of animal protein, fish and chicken are probably better choices.”

The Mediterranean diet is very similar to the government’s healthy eating advice, which is set out in the Eatwell Guide


The Mediterranean diet limits the intake of refined breads, processed foods, and red meat, and encourages drinking red wine instead of hard liquor – all factors that can help prevent heart disease and stroke.

It’s estimated that the nutrients gained with a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of developing muscle weakness and other signs of frailty by about 70 per cent.

The NHS added: “The Mediterranean diet is very similar to the government’s healthy eating advice, which is set out in the Eatwell Guide.

“The guide shows what foods are needed for a healthy, balanced diet and how much you should eat of each group.”

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