Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America and increasingly, around our world. In a 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers split more than 6,000 people- all at elevated risk for heart disease- into three groups. One ate a low-fat diet, and two ate variations of a Mediterranean diet. After five years, the ones that were on the Mediterranean diets were 30% less likely to have had a major cardiac event.



In, another study, this from researchers primarily based at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, examined some of the effects of a Mediterranean diet on telomeres. Telomeres my friends, are the bunches of genetic material that sit at the tips of our chromosomes and protect them from degradation, think of them as being a little like microscopic bumpers. Long telomeres are a sign of vibrancy, as the short or stunted telomeres are a creator of old age and a risk factor for more than a few diseases. Among literally thousands of middle-aged and older adults, the ones who adhered closely to the Mediterranean diet had the healthiest telomeres, this study concluded.



Immaculata De Vivo, that study’s senior author and an epidemiologist at Harvard, says, that the Mediterranean diet’s ability to fight oxidative damage may actually explain its links to both longer telomeres and longer life. The key [ingredients in] the Mediterranean diet have very well-known anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which we know can counteract telomere shortening, she explains. While there are some dispute about exactly how much of those key components you should actually eat on a daily basis, De Vivo says lots of vegetables, fruits and nuts are essential.



Worth noting: De Vivo does not single out olive oil, being the food most often associated with the Mediterranean diet, as one of the plan’s champions. Although plenty of benefits have been associated with healthy, oils, like those made from olives, rapeseed and other plants, evidence suggests that we can overdo it ( and yes, even with cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil ).

Research from Antonia Trichopoulou, the president of Greece’s Hellenic Health Foundation, has proven that regular olive oil consumption extends life. However, while this may be due to the oil’s antioxidant and monounsaturated content of fat, it may also be because of the oil’s ability to enhance the flavor of vegetables and many other healthy foods, making people inclined to consume more of them. But my friends, you can still overindulge, and by simply substituting some olive oil for margarine or other cooking oils won’t lead you to the promised land, of all the health benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet.



In fact, all the efforts to distill the Mediterranean diet into a few of the lifesaving components have met with failure, for now. One prominent example is, the case of resveratrol, which is a type of phenolic compound found in wine and grapes. Numerous studies have linked regular, moderate intake of wine-the type of mealtime sipping associated with the Mediterranean diets-to a multitude of health perks, however, attempts to isolate and concentrate resveratrol have not shown to produce consistent benefits.



Research from Johns Hopkins University, Did not find any association between resveratrol consumption and lower rates of mortality or disease. When it comes down to diet, aging and good health things are not that simple and probably does not boil down to one single substance, like resveratrol, Richard Semba says, the lead author of Johns Hopkins study. Richard Semba point about resveratrol rubs up against a larger truth when it comes to longevity, the Mediterranean diets in general: not one food-nor even one category of food-can provide all the good stuff that your body really needs for a long life free of disease.



Health experts, do love the Mediterranean diets precisely because they are not restrictive. Though exact definitions vary, most will agree that the Mediterranean diet places an emphasis on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.The diet also allows for moderate amounts of poultry and fish, as well as having wine with meals. The diet tolerates (but generally discourages) red or processed meats, most dairy products, sweets and snacks-all the things linked to disease and death when consumed frequently.



You’ll notice there is no mention of any supplements, lemon-water binges or any of the other miraculous, shortcuts so often lauded by trendy diets. A truly good healthy diet is both more complicated and less tiresome than swallowing some pills or limiting yourself to the same old super foods, day in and day out. Semba says that many whole foods pack a nutritious cocktail of amino acids, polyphenols, fiber and other healthy nutrients that must be ingested in concert and can not be broken down into supplements or pills.



So what is the best diets for a healthy long life? You should stick mostly to the range of foods championed by the Mediterranean diet, ideally prepared yourself from the scratch, and yes, you can get away with a steak here or a dessert there. At least, that is your best bet for now. However, my friends, a burgeoning area of study could soon change the way that we eat to live a long life and dodge disease. It all revolves around the teeming bacteria that live in our gut.




If you want to live longer, and have a quality life, be at healthy as you can be, take these recommendations to heart. Fill up on oily fish rich in omega-3 fats, high-antioxidant veggies like dark, leafy greens. Dark, colorful berries, chewy whole grains like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and quinoa. STAY AWAY FROM fried foods containing saturated and trans fats, processed simple carbs like white-flour crackers and breads. Sweets and candy, artificial sweeteners, which some research suggests may negatively affect gut bacteria in a very big way.

The traditional Mediterranean diet is very rich in powerful antioxidants like vitamin C in oranges and tomatoes, carotenoids in cantaloupe and spinach, vitamin E in almonds and olive oil and anti-inflammatory compounds like omega-3 fatty acids in fish. I sincerely hope that this information will help you to live a long quality healthier life.



May you be always in good health, humbly your Paul Earl.