To test this hypothesis, a group of researchers analyzed the impact of the Mediterranean lifestyle on the risk of dying from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions in middle-aged and older adults living in England, Scotland, and Wales. The study found that the more people adhered to the Mediterranean lifestyle, the lower their risk of dying from cancer or from any cause.
The Mediterranean lifestyle was measured using the MEDLIFE index, which scored participants based on their adherence to three factors: Mediterranean food consumption, Mediterranean dietary habits, and other lifestyle factors, such as conviviality, physical activity with others, social habits, and rest. The study found that higher scores in each of these three blocks were associated with lower cancer and all-cause death risks.
The study's senior researcher said the findings suggest that adopting a Mediterranean lifestyle adapted to the local characteristics of non-Mediterranean populations is possible and can be part of a healthy lifestyle. She emphasized the importance of community and social engagement in good health, noting that the Mediterranean lifestyle involves interactions with others, a component that is particularly important for people as they age.
While the study did not explore the impact of stress on the Mediterranean lifestyle, future studies could explore this aspect. Overall, the findings highlight the importance of paying attention to other aspects of lifestyle beyond just physical activity and the potential benefits of adopting a Mediterranean-style lifestyle for improved health outcomes.