The benefits of the Mediterranean diet as a fundamental pillar of good health have been widely documented in recent years by numerous scientific studies. Characterized by a high consumption of unprocessed foods, especially fruit, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, fish and nuts, a higher consumption of white than red or processed meat, and a moderate consumption of dairy products, the Mediterranean diet is the world’s food benchmark.
Now, study by the Autonomous University of Madrid (AMU) also includes factors such as napping, exercise, sleep at night, social relationships, or eating together as a familyas a basic part of the equation to enjoy good health.
And it is that the results of the work, published in Cardiovascular Diabetologyshow that living according to the Mediterranean way of life is associated with lower incidence of the metabolic syndrome and several biological cardiovascular risk factors, as well as lower cardiovascular and general mortality.
To reach this conclusion, the health effects of various elements of the Mediterranean lifestyle were analyzed, taking into account, inter alia, sample of 11090 participants in the ENRICA studywhich were tracked in 2008-2010 and until the end of 2017. The MEDLIFE index was used as a reference, which includes 28 items divided into three blocks: food consumption; eating habits; physical activity, sleep and social relationships).
“We found that greater adherence to the MEDLIFE index was related to 45% reduction in all-cause mortality and 69% reduction in cardiovascular mortality. A block that included sufficient physical activity, napping, adequate sleep time and frequent social relationships was the only one that was associated with better health outcomes in isolation, ”explains Mercedes Sotos-Prieto, lead author of the study.
“It is important to emphasize the importance of cultural habits in addition to eating habits as determinants of health. The fact that our study assesses the global Mediterranean lifestyle is a clear contribution to literature that: shows the synergistic effect of the entire lifestyle, not its individual components”Concludes the expert.