Study Identifies Diet That Could Reduce Mortality Risk by 23% in US Women

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A well- is known to help with longevity. Researchers have now identified a specific diet pattern that could help lower the risk of death in women.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the Brigham and Women's , U.S. women with greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet had up to 23% reduced risk of all-cause mortality, including reduced risks of death from and cardiovascular diseases.

The Mediterranean diet recommends including plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and healthy oils, along with moderate amounts of fish and seafood. It is proven to have several , including reduced risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases.

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

The researchers explain that the reduced mortality benefits are due to changes in biomarkers of metabolism, inflammation, and insulin associated with the Mediterranean diet.

To determine the long-term effect of the Mediterranean diet, particularly on mortality, the researchers evaluated 40 biomarkers of 25,315 women who were part of the Women's Health Study. These biomarkers represented various biological pathways and clinical risk factors related to mortality. The participants were then followed up for 25 years to explore the biological mechanisms that may explain the diet's health benefits.

The study found that biomarkers such as small molecule metabolites, inflammation, triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, insulin resistance, and body mass index contributed most to lowering the mortality risk. However, standard cholesterol and glycemic measures had minimum effects.

“Our 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.

However, the study has certain limitations, including a participant group of predominantly non-Hispanic white, middle-aged, and older well-educated female health professionals. It relied on self-reported data, including food-frequency questionnaires and measures like height, weight, and blood pressure. However, it is a large-scale study with a long follow-up period.

“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” Mora said.

Published by Medicaldaily.com

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