It is no secret that in some countries, the population’s average age is higher than in others. Sure, various factors are contributing to that, such as the level and accessibility of healthcare, the environment, genetics, and the average level of socio-economic well-being. However, most healthcare professionals agree that lifestyle choices still play a major part in the quality of life and the length of the lifespan. Countries with the highest life expectancy are providing their citizens with all necessary external factors, while the cuisines of those countries promote healthy eating habits. This applies to countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, and South Korea. In terms of nutrition, those countries have one thing in common – it is the Mediterranean Diet. This paper argues that Mediterranean Diet introduces eating habits that increase longevity and decrease the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
According to the Mediterranean nutritional model, people should base their diet on plant-based food consumption. Fruits, vegetables, oils, nuts, and seeds are all placed at the base of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid. Besides that, the Mediterranean model implies not only the use of certain products and their proportions; this is a lifestyle that promotes knowledge about nature’s cycles, social eating habits, and traditions. The diet heavily relies on eating seasonal food, which ensures that consumption is sustainable and aligns with the environmental cycles.
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the most scientifically researched nutrition patterns. Hence, there is evidence of how the Mediterranean Diet lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and increases longevity. As such, a Spanish study selected a number of patients vulnerable to CVD and divided them into three categories. The first category consumed a low-fat diet; the second and third consumed an olive-oil-rich Mediterranean Diet and Mediterranean Diet rich in nuts, respectively. As a result of regular check-ups over the span of eight years from 2003 to 2011, the patients from the second and third categories showed a 30% reduction in risk of CVD events (Caprara). Hence, eating nuts and olive oil is the first beneficial eating habit.
Secondly, one of the most extensive studies on the impacts of the Mediterranean Diet is called the Seven Countries Study of Cardiovascular Diseases. It involved nearly 12 000 participants from Northern countries of Finland, Netherlands, and the United States and Southern countries of Japan, ex-Yugoslavia, Greece, and Italy. The purpose of the study was to see the effect of different dietary approaches on the general health of participants as they were analyzed every five years over the span of nearly four decades (Caprara). The northern diet is usually associated with high consumption of sugar and saturated fats, while the Mediterranean Diet avoids such kinds of nutrients. The results indicated that the Mediterranean Diet population was less likely to have ischemic heart disease and tumors, while participants who consumed sugar and saturated fat were likely to experience severe coronary heart disease.
Therefore, there are at least two useful eating habits that can be taken from the Mediterranean Diet. First is the reduction of sugar and saturated fats consumption, which largely increases the risks of illnesses such as coronary heart disease. Secondly, plant-based nutrition is also associated with lower risks of CVD. Hence, it is no wonder that countries that embrace the Mediterranean Diet have the highest life expectancy.
Caprara, Greta. “Diet and longevity: The effects of traditional eating habits on human lifespan extension.” Mediterranean Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism vol. 11 no. 3, 2018, 261-294, Web.