One diet might significantly increase a woman’s lifespan, study finds

The Mediterranean diet strikes again

The Mediterranean diet is an a roll this year. U.S. News and World Report ranked it the best diet for the seventh consecutive year. Now, according to a massive study, the eating regimen may also have added benefits for women.

“For women interested in longevity, our study shows that following a Mediterranean dietary pattern could result in about 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,” senior study author Dr. Samia Mora, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told CNN in an email.

Published in JAMA, the observational study followed the eating habits of more than 25,000 U.S. women for up to 25 years. According to the Harvard Gazette, the researchers acknowledged there were some limitations to the study.

The study’s subjects were limited to middle-aged and older women who were well-educated health professionals. They were predominantly non-Hispanic and white. The study also largely relied on self-reporting.

All the same, Mora said, the results show how beneficial the Mediterranean diet can be.

“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,” she told the Gazette. “Public health policies should promote the healthful dietary attributes of the Mediterranean diet and should discourage unhealthy adaptations.”

The Mediterranean diet is rich in plants, often incorporating nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Most of the diet’s fat comes from extra-virgin olive oil and includes an assortment of lean meats, such as fish and poultry.

To understand precisely why the diet can increase women’s longevity, researchers said more study is needed.