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Can the MED Diet Save the Lives of Women?

By June 1, 2024Kahn Longevity Center
MED diet
At the Kahn Center, we stress education on nutrition on every visit and provide a list of documentaries, books and podcasts to study at home. While the emphasis is a whole food plant diet (healthy vegan), information on the Mediterranean (MED) diet is also provided due to a large body of science supporting it.

Now, a new study suggests that women that follow the MED diet may live longer and better. 


The cohort study included initially healthy women from the Women’s Health Study, who had provided blood samples, biomarker measurements, and dietary information. Baseline data included self-reported demographics and a validated food-frequency questionnaire. The data collection period was from April 1993 to January 1996, and data analysis took place from June 2018 to November 2023.

The MED diet score (range, 0-9) was computed based on 9 dietary components.

Thirty-three blood biomarkers, including traditional and novel lipid, lipoprotein, apolipoprotein, inflammation, insulin resistance, and metabolism measurements, were evaluated. Mortality and cause of death were determined from medical and death records.


Among 25,315 female participants, the mean age was 55 (7.1) years.  The median MED diet adherence score was 4.0.

Over 25 years of follow-up, 3,879 deaths occurred.

Groups with better than average adherence to the MED diet had a 16% lower death rate and those with the highest adherence had a 23% lower death rate.

Of the biomarkers examined, small molecule metabolites and inflammatory biomarkers contributed most to the lower mortality risk followed by triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, body mass index, and insulin resistance, all of which were better in the group with the best adherence to the MED diet.


In this cohort study, highest adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with 23% lower risk of all-cause mortality. This association was partially explained by multiple cardiometabolic factors.

While we will continue to teach and advocate for a whole good plant based diet (healthy vegan) for health, the environment, and for animal rights, in patients not willing to adopt a fully WFPB diet, the MED diet is a proven health plan.

Nutrition is a key factor for healthspan and lifespan.