The Many Benefits of Mediterranean Diet

June 4, 2008

What is Mediterranean Diet?

The common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics according to the American Heart Association :

  • high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
  • olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
  • dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
  • eggs are consumed zero to four times a week
  • wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts

The diet simply put focuses more on our consumption of olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts ( my post on Going nuts on Nuts) , cereals, legumes and fish ( my post on the Benefits of Eating fish)  and avoiding the well liked and “unhealthy meat and “saturated fat loaded” dairy products.

The many touted benefits of this diet has long been known in the medical field.  In fact major organizations have patterned their recommended healthy diets on the contents of the mediterranean diet.  Why?  Because… Many epidimeological studies have shown that the incidence of heart disease in Mediterranean countries is lower than in the United States where meat and saturated fat is a plenty!!!!.  In fact in those studies, where people practice the Mediterranean diet, mortality rates or the risk of death were also significantly lower!!!!

In a recent article published in the May 30 online of BMJ, Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of developing diabetes.  Another PLUS to this otherwise healthy alternative way of eating….

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Participants who adhered closely to a Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of diabetes. The incidence rate ratios adjusted for sex and age were 0.41 (95% confidence interval 0.19 to 0.87) for those with moderate adherence (score 3-6) and 0.17 (0.04 to 0.75) for those with the highest adherence (score 7-9) compared with those with low adherence (score <3). In the fully adjusted analyses the results were similar.

A two point increase in the score was associated with a 35% relative reduction in the risk of diabetes (incidence rate ratio 0.65, 0.44 to 0.95), with a significant inverse linear trend (P=0.04) in the multivariate analysis.

Conclusion Adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.

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In this study, during an average of 4 years of follow-up, the researches found that found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet very closely had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. and their risk were reduced by 83 percent.

It is however very important to emphasize that major health benefits may not be entirely due to the diet alone.  A healthy diet should always partner with healthy lifestyle including more physical activity.  All these require no shortcut but plain discipline!

A Healthy Diet For More Wealth!

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