People who follow a Med lifestyle – including making time for socialising; resting; physical activity and eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with low sugar and salt intake – are less likely to die prematurely or die from cancer.
And those who get plenty of rest, exercise and make time to socialise with friends are less likely to die as a result of a heart attack or stroke.
The new study examined data on 110,799 adults taking part in the UK Biobank study.
People aged 45 to 70 from England, Wales and Scotland provided detailed information about their diet and lifestyle habits.
The researchers, led by academics from La Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the US, examined information ON Mediterranean food consumption; Mediterranean dietary habits – such as limiting salt and consuming healthy drinks – and lifestyle habits including taking regular naps, exercising, and spending time with friends.
Higher total scores in these categories indicated a higher adherence to the Mediterranean lifestyle, the authors said.
People involved in the study were tracked for nine years.
Some 4,247 people died including 2,401 from cancer and 731 from cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attacks and strokes.
Researchers found that people who followed a Mediterranean lifestyle were 29% less likely to die compared to their peers who did not follow this lifestyle.
They were also 28% less likely to die from cancer, according to the study, which has been published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
And people who got plenty of rest and exercise, while also making time to socialise with friends, were also less likely to die from cardiovascular disease.
“This study suggests that it’s possible for non-Mediterranean populations to adopt the Mediterranean diet using locally available products and to adopt the overall Mediterranean lifestyle within their own cultural contexts,” said lead author Mercedes Sotos Prieto, from La Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and Harvard Chan School.
“We’re seeing the transferability of the lifestyle and its positive effects on health.”