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Mediterranean Lifestyle May Contribute To Longer Life

Jul 24, 2008
The Mediterranean island of Menorca was the life-long home of one of the oldest people in the world. The man who passed away recently at 114 years of age advised regular physical activity, a mild climate and a healthy, Mediterranean diet.

The man and his family tended a family orchard. He was still cycling to the orchard to work until he reached the age of 102. Professor Adolfo Diez Perez at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, who led the research team that studied the bone mass and genetics of the man, tends to agree.

The research team studied the man when he was 113 years old. Recently published in the Journal of Gerontology, the findings state, "his bone mass was normal, there were no anomalous curvatures and he had never sustained a fracture." The study included other members of his family. His 101-year-old brother, 81- and 77-year-old daughters and his 85-year-old nephew participated in the study. Each of the five participants were born and raised in a small village on the island of Menorca.

The KLOTHO gene is one of the genes responsible for proper levels of mineral density in healthy bones. The LRP5 gene is one of the genes responsible for longevity. Research did not indicate any mutations of these two commonly researched genes. Professor Perez's research does not conclude that the mutation of other genes could have positively affected longevity.

Rest and Relaxation

Before Menorca became the booming tourist location it is today, it was a peaceful, quiet place to relax. In the 1950s and 1960s, doctors throughout the U.K. would often prescribe an island holiday to patients whose primary symptoms were brought on by stress.

In most cases, a week of stress-free island sunshine was quite literally just what the doctor ordered. It is believed that this type of stress-free lifestyle could lead to a longer life. Studies like the one mentioned earlier help give credit to the popular belief.

Millions of tourists visit Menorca each year in search of the perfect beach getaway. With the introduction of mass tourism in the 1970s came additional requirements for the Balearic Islands.

The influx of tourists meant more hotels and resorts had to be constructed. Tourism is now the primary source of fuel for the Menorcan economy. Today's tourism is much different in comparison to 1950s tourism. Tourism today is much faster paced. Tourist shops, busy cafes and a wide variety of restaurants now accompany the once quiet hotels.

Physical Activity

Fitness experts always list the two most important "must-haves" of weight loss and a healthy life as diet and exercise. Of the five individuals studied, all live or lived an active lifestyle. They live in a small village in Menorca and work in the family orchard.

Exercise doesn't necessarily mean following a rigorous daily routine to help keep the body moving and healthy. Walking around the corner to the cafe for a light lunch is more beneficial than driving to the nearest fast food restaurant.

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help burn the extra calories from the soda or unhealthy snack everyone is guilty of having from time to time. Even the addition of a small amount of physical activity can make a big difference in the way we look and feel.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, bread, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds. Little-to-no red meat is eaten, while eggs, fish and poultry are eaten in low to moderate amounts.

Olive oil is very important to the Mediterranean diet as a monounsaturated fat source. Wines, often created on the island, are consumed in low to moderate amounts. The Mediterranean diet is lower in saturated fats than the typical American diet.
About the Author
More information about life in Menorca can be found at yourmenorca.net - they have new photos of the airport and details of flights to Menorca along with holiday companies who offer holidays in Menorca including villa holiday companies specialising in Menorca villas
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