A combined meal of seven foods including wine and chocolate could reduce cardiovascular disease by 76 per cent, a team of researchers has found.
The study, published in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal, found that a 'polymeal' of wine, fish, dark chocolate, fruits and vegetables, almonds and garlic, eaten daily (or four times a week in the case of fish) significantly increased men's life expectancy by an average of six and a half years and women's by an average of five years.
The findings follow research last year into the polypill, a combination of drugs taken in one dose, which was designed to reduce heart disease by more than 80 per cent.
Research team member Dr Anna Peeters from the Monash University Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine said the team came up with the polymeal as a non-pharmaceutical alternative to the polypill.
She said that in western society everyone was at risk of cardiovascular disease.
"The polymeal is an effective, non-pharmacological, safe, cheap and tasty alternative to the polypill that will reduce cardiovascular morbidity and increase life expectancy in the general population," she said.
The study is a collaboration between Dr Anna Peeters and researchers at Erasmus University Medical Centre, The Netherlands.
The scientists reviewed the literature on how much each ingredient cut heart disease, blood pressure or cholesterol levels and worked out the combined effect of the ingredients on the risk of cardiovascular disease and life expectancy.