Closer adherence to Japanese dietary guidelines is associated with a lower risk of death from all causes and death from cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke, finds a study published by The BMJ today.
The findings suggest that balanced consumption of grains, vegetables, fruits and adequate intake of fish and meat, can contribute to longevity in the Japanese population.
In 2005, the Japanese government developed the spinning top - a Japanese food guide - to illustrate the balance and quantity of food in the daily Japanese diet.
A team of researchers, led by Kayo Kurotani at the National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo, set out to examine the association between adherence to the food guide and total and cause specific mortality.
They used data from detailed food and lifestyle questionnaires completed by 36,624 men and 42,920 women aged 45-75. Participants had no history of cancer, stroke, heart disease, or chronic liver disease and were followed-up for 15 years.
They found that both men and women with higher scores on the food guide (better adherence) had a 15% lower total mortality rate over 15 years. This protective association was mainly attributable to a reduction in mortality from cerebrovascular disease.
The researchers conclude: "Our findings suggest that balanced consumption of energy, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, dairy products, confectionaries, and alcoholic beverages can contribute to longevity by decreasing the risk of death, predominantly from cardiovascular disease, in the Japanese population."