Mediterranean diet could add 15 years to your life

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) released new research today saying following a Mediterranean diet could add 15 years to your life (3rd August 2011)(1).

Dr Carrie Ruxton, a dietitian and member of the Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) commented: “This research confirms the benefits of Mediterranean-type foods such as olive oil, fruit, vegetables, oily fish and wholegrains, but I disagree with the authors that you need to eat less red meat to enjoy the benefits of these foods. Average intakes of meat in Italy, France, and Spain are generally higher than in the UK(2) illustrating that low meat consumption is not part of a Mediterranean diet.

Red meat contains a number of protective nutrients, such as B-vitamins, iron, the antioxidant selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, which can all contribute to health. Also, thanks to modern farming methods, meat is lower than ever in fat and saturated fat. Evidence on the specific types of fatty acids in meat suggests that they have no impact on blood cholesterol levels(3). 

Opting for lean cuts of red meat, cooking these with a dash of olive oil, and adding wholegrain bread and a large serving of colourful Mediterranean vegetables gives British meat eaters the best of both worlds in terms of a healthy diet.”

For more information and advice on the role of meat in your diet please click here.

(1) Piet A van den Brandt. The impact of a Mediterranean diet and healthy lifestyle on premature mortality in men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Accepted June 30 2011.

(2) Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) 2010, Livestock and Fish Primary Equivalent, 02 June 2010

(3) Daley CA, Abbott A, et al. (2010 ). "A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in  grass-fed and grain-fed beef." Nutrition Journal 9 (10) 

The Meat Advisory Panel (MAP) is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from EBLEX and BPEX.