Once again new research shows that adopting a Mediterranean style diet will protect your heart and help you live longer.  Specifically this large, multi-center study led by John Hopkins researchers found that following a Mediterranean style diet, along with exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking all work together to prolong life. According to their research these 4 lifestyle changes reduced chance of death from all causes by 80 percent. Yes, you read right 80 percent. They also protected against coronary heart disease as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries.

According to the lead author Haitham Ahmed, M.D., M.P.H., internal medicine resident at John Hopkins, the researchers evaluated data from more than 6,200 men and women, ages 44-84, from white, African-American, Hispanic and Chinese backgrounds. They were followed for over 7 years and those that  adopted all four healthy behaviors had an 80 percent lower death rate over that time period compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors.

The participants were part of the ongoing Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), which examines risk factors, prevalence and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

What is important with this study is that the participants did not live in the Mediterranean area and that they were of different ethnicities, showing that a Mediterranean style diet can be beneficial for anyone.

Take home lesson: A Mediterranean diet not only protects your heart but helps you live longer, regardless of where you are from.

The study was published in the  American Journal of Epidemiology.

Photo by OliveTomato

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