Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts can give longer life to old people, Italian researchers said on Sunday.
Italian researchers found that a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, fish and olive oil, but low in meat, dairy foods and alcohol, reduced the risk of an early death in people over 65 by 25 per cent.
Scientists at the Neuromed Institute analyzed the relations between the Mediterranean diet and mortality in a sample of more than 5,000 people over 65 who were followed for eight years.
They also analyzed other studies in several countries, involving 12,000 people.
The researchers said that the results “clearly indicate” that the Mediterranean diet is an “authentic life-saving shield” able to significantly prolong the life of elderly people.
And the more strictly a pensioner follows the Mediterranean diet, which also includes a glass of wine with meals, the less likely they are to die prematurely, the research adds.
Study author Licia Iacoviello, from a hospital in Molise, Italy, said: “With the progressive ageing of the world population, we know that, in a few years, people over 65 will represent about a quarter of Europeans.”