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Study examines the relationship between diet and disability

As winter weather approaches, New Jersey readers may have thoughts of warm-weather destinations on their minds. The stress relief, rest and rejuvenation of an exotic locale are certainly beneficial to any wellness regime. According to a new study, some of the local fare may also provide benefit, at least for Mediterranean destinations.

The primary foods in the Mediterranean diet include beans, nuts and seeds, vegetables, fish and poultry, and olive oil instead of other fats. Although previous studies have found healthy benefits to that diet, the new study specifically attempted to answer how the regimen might prevent the risk of stroke and slow the aging process.

In the study, researchers examined data from 10,670 women who responded to a dietary questionnaire at the beginning and end of a 15-year period. All of the participants were between the ages of the mid-50s to early 60s.

According to the data, women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet had 40 percent better odds of living past the age of 70, compared to those who did not follow the dietary restrictions. Researchers also found additional health benefits among the women in the over-70 group. Most were free of disabilities common in the United States, such as cancer; type 2 diabetes; kidney disease and Parkinson’s.

Of course, diet is not an absolute guarantee against disability-rendering illness or accidents. At such times, relief programs like Social Security disability insurance can provide a lifeline. Nevertheless, other disabling conditions might have a relationship to diet. By making healthy choices, Americans might reduce the risk of certain diet-related illnesses.  

Source:, “Mediterranean diet linked to longer lifespan and better health,” Honor Whiteman, Nov. 5, 2013

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