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Mediterranean Diet Linked To Lower Risk Of Death In Women

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Posted on Jun 04, 2024, 2 p.m.

The Mediterranean Diet is ranked among the best to follow for its numerous health benefits and is gaining popularity for these reasons. Now a long-term study from Mass General Brigham and Women's Hospital published in JAMA adds to these benefits, finding that the Mediterranean Diet is linked to a lower risk of early death in women. Specifically identifying and assessing the underlying mechanisms behind the 23% reduction in all-cause mortality risk for American women. 

This study followed over 25,000 healthy American women for up to 25 years investigating the long-term benefits of adherence to a Mediterranean Diet in a U.S population. The findings showed that those who adhered more strictly to a Mediterranean Diet intake had up to a 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality, with benefits for cardiovascular and cancer mortality. The researchers report discovering evidence of biological changes that may explain why, including changes in biomarkers of inflammation, metabolism, insulin resistance, and more. 

"For women who want to live longer, our study says watch your diet! The good news is that following a Mediterranean dietary pattern could result in about one-quarter reduction in risk of death over more than 25 years with benefits for both cancer and cardiovascular mortality, the top causes of death in women (and men) in the US and globally," said senior author Samia Mora, MD, a cardiologist and the director of the Center for Lipid Metabolomics at the Brigham.

Of the panel of 40 biomarkers evaluated representing various biological pathways and clinical risk factors, biomarkers of metabolism and inflammation were found to make the largest contributions. These were followed by biomarkers for triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, adiposity, and insulin resistance. Other biological pathways related to branched-chain amino acids, high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, glycemic measures, and hypertension were found to have smaller contributions.

"Our research provides significant public health insight: even modest changes in established risk factors for metabolic diseases -- particularly those linked to small molecule metabolites, inflammation, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, obesity, and insulin resistance -- can yield substantial long-term benefits from following a Mediterranean diet. This finding underscores the potential of encouraging healthier dietary habits to reduce the overall risk of mortality," said lead author Shafqat Ahmad, PhD, an associate professor of Epidemiology at Uppsala University Sweden and a researcher in the Center for Lipid Metabolomics and the Division of Preventive Medicine at the Brigham.

"The health benefits of the Mediterranean diet are recognized by medical professionals, and our study offers insights into why the diet may be so beneficial. Public health policies should promote the healthful dietary attributes of the Mediterranean diet and should discourage unhealthy adaptations," said Mora.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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