About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Go Mediterranean! Say Bye Bye to Cancer, Stroke and Heart Disease

by Tanya Thomas on September 12, 2008 at 3:53 PM
Font : A-A+

Go Mediterranean! Say Bye Bye to Cancer, Stroke and Heart Disease

Researchers can't stop singing the praises of the 'Mediterranean diet' which, a study released on Friday says, dramatically cuts the risk of many life-threatening diseases. This diet regime can successfully dodge ailments like heart disease, cancer and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's.

Piecemeal evidence over the last three decades has shown that a diet rich in grains, fruit, vegetables and olive oil but stingy on meat and dairy -- washed down with a modest daily dose of wine -- promotes health.


But a meta-study published in the British Medical Journal is the first to sift through all this data in an attempt to quantify the overall benefits.

'Our findings support a simple recommendation: eat in a more Mediterranean way because it reduces the incidence of chronic disease,' the lead researcher, Francesco Sofi of the University of Florence, told AFP by phone.

Pouring over a dozen scientific surveys conducted since 1966 and involving more than 1.5 million people, Sofi and a team of researchers in Italy created a scale of one to nine corresponding to different food groups.

Someone who consumed all the healthiest foodstuffs and largely avoided the harmful ones -- a theoretically-perfect Mediterranean diet -- would score a perfect nine, he explained.

The study found that a bump of two points anywhere in the scale -- moving, say, from zero to two, or from six to eight -- corresponded to a 'significant reduction in overall mortality,' Sofi said.

When broken down by disease, such a shift in dietary habits lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by nine percent and from cancer by six percent.

The study also evaluated a recent set of findings on the impact of diet on neurodegenerative disease, and concluded that going Mediterranean decreased the incidence of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's by 13 percent.

These results are 'clinically relevant for public health,' and suggest that getting one's daily calorie intake from these food groups could play an important role in preventing major chronic diseases, Sofi said.

Despite growing evidence of its benefits, some specialists up to now have been reluctant to fully endorse the Mediterranean way.

'We need more studies to find out whether the diet itself or other lifestyle factors account for the lower deaths from heart disease,' the American Heart Association says on its website.

Ironically, most of the more than dozen countries ringing the Mediterranean Sea are slowly abandoning their traditional foods in favor of more meat, saturated fats and processed foods, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

'The European diet has become too fat, too salty and too sweet,' Josef Schmidhuber, an economist at the FAO, said earlier this month in a statement. The traditional balance of foods found in southern Europe and Northern Africa 'is declining into a moribund state,' he said.

Historically, more than half the fat calories in a Mediterranean diet come from monounsaturated fats -- mainly olive oil -- that do not raise blood cholesterol levels the way saturated fats do.

Sofi hopes that his scoring system might help people improve their eating habits.

'Adherence to the score could be a good way to measure the quality of a diet,' she said.

He is currently doing more research on what the optimum quantity of each food group would be for a balanced diet.

'Then we would be in a position to recommend eating a specific amount of, say, fish or fruits,' he said.

Source: AFP

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Resting Heart Rate
Is COVID-19 Vaccination during Pregnancy Safe?
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Bell´s Palsy Cardiac Catheterization Heart Attack Air travel: To fly or not to fly Diet Lifestyle and Heart Disease Mitral Valve Stenosis And Mitral Valve Replacement Congenital Heart Disease Stress and the Gender Divide Silent Killer Diseases Stroke Facts 
Recommended Reading
Air travel: To fly or not to fly
Air travel is for everyone, even those with medical conditions....
Cardiac Catheterization
Cardiac catheterization is a radiological procedure for both diagnosis and treatment of heart condit...
Congenital Heart Disease
Heart diseases that are present at birth are called “ Congenital heart diseases”....
Heart Attack
Heart attack is the death of the heart muscle due to loss of blood supply. Heart disease is the lead...
Mitral Valve Stenosis And Mitral Valve Replacement
Mitral valve replacement is a surgical heart procedure to correct either the narrowing (stenosis) or...
Stress and the Gender Divide
Stress has become entwined in the current lifestyle of a young working couple and has resulted in th...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use