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    Wednesday, August 12, 2009


    What is the Mediterranean diet?

    The Mediterranean diet is the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It is characterized by high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, high fiber foods, low intakes of saturated fats and a high intake of mono-saturated fats, such as olive oil and nuts. Fish is favored more often than meat because of its high source of omega-3s.

    High protein options like lentils, beans and other legumes are also an important part of this diet. The Mediterranean diet incorporates the basics of healthy eating -- plus a splash of flavorful olive oil and perhaps a glass of red wine -- among other components.

    Most healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains and limit unhealthy fats. While these parts of a healthy diet remain tried-and-true, subtle variations or differences in proportions of certain foods may make a difference in your risk of heart disease. Always consult your health physician before embarking on any new venture, as medicines can interact with certain food groups.

    Key components of the Mediterranean diet include:
    • Eating generous amount of fruits and vegetables daily
    • Consuming healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil avocadoes in moderation
    • Eating small portions of nuts
    • Drinking red wine, in moderation
    • Consuming very little red meat if at all
    • Eating fish on a regular basis
    • Goat cheese is preferred choice over other cheeses
    • Whole grain bread is eaten without butter or margarines, which contain saturated or Trans fats, because these contribute to heart disease.

    This pyramid suggests amounts of serving of various food groups. Notice that the first component of this pyramid is exercise. All the doctors concurred that we should not underestimate the importance of daily activity, as it is a tremendous deterrent for any of above mentioned conditions.

    Vegetables, nuts, olives, fruit and fish — and a pleasant, sunny climate! Mediterranean’s live long and eat well, there's no question. Their diet has scored praise from nutrition experts and culinary enthusiasts. But what is it about the diet exactly that makes it so healthy?

    A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the University of Athens Medical School in Greece breaks down the diet staples of the Mediterranean diet. Results were released in the online edition of the British Medical Journal.

    Researchers looked at more than 23,000 Greek men and women participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) over eight and a half years. They found that certain foods in the diet may offer the bulk of the nutritional benefits.

    As a surprise to us all the high consumption of fish and cereals that most of us associate with the diet, and the avoidance of dairy, did not impact the benefits of the overall diet. But the omission of prepackaged and processed foods with sugars and additives — commonly found in North American diets, probably also works in the Mediterranean diet’s advantage.

    Other components of the diet driving the mortality benefit included:
    • Low intake of mean and meat products (16.6% of the effect)
    • High vegetable intake (16.2% of the effect)
    • High fruit and nut consumption (11.2% of the effect)
    • High monounsaturated-to-saturated fat intake (10.6% of the effect)
    • High intake of legumes (9.7% of the effect)
    • High cereal intake and low dairy consumption were the lowest contributors to the mortality effect, accounting for 6.1% and 4.5%, respectively

    Moderate alcohol intake may be the single biggest contributor to the Mediterranean diet's longevity benefit, accounting for 23.5% of the effect in a prospective cohort study. The researchers defined moderate intake as 10 to <50 grams of alcohol per day. But subtracting alcohol as a component, the Mediterranean diet still appeared to contribute significantly to a long life.

    But before running to your nearest bar for your daily allotment--you must pay attention to this.
    Although moderate drinking may help protect against some chronic diseases, alcohol's net effect on health is profoundly negative around the world, researchers reported in the June 27, 2009 issue of The Lancet. Rehm J, et al "Global burden of alcohol diseases.” According to this study, the harms associated with alcohol vastly outweigh the benefits both globally and in the U.S.

    In 2004, alcohol cost the world nearly 71 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) -- years of life lost to premature death or lived with disability, "Overall, their analysis shows that alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for burden of disease."

    Alcohol is linked to many disease categories. Alcohol-use disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis, and injury are the most important disease categories causally affected by alcohol. Although light to moderate drinking may have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease, this benefit is restricted to older people only," they say. Moreover, such benefits are swamped by the negative effects of heavy drinking, which often affect younger people who have more DALYs to lose The analysis also showed that for much of the world, the beneficial effects of alcohol are essentially irrelevant because of drinking habits, demographics, and lower prevalence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease

    Please remember, as with all our articles we provide information, not medical advice.
    For any treatment of your own medical condition you must visit your local doctor, with or without our article[s]. These articles are not to be taken as individual medical advice.


    Deepen your understanding of "medical malpractice"...

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    1 comment:

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