Friday, February 6, 2009

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Major Disease

Italian researchers reported in a new study that a Mediterranean style diet can reduce the risk of numerous diseases. The people in the study saw an overall drop in mortality of 9 percent, a 9 percent drop in death from cardiovascular disease, and a 13 percent reduction in cases of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and a 6 percent drop in cancer.

The Mediterranean diet has a reputation for being a model of healthy eating and contributing to better health and quality of life, since it is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol, reports the British Medical Journal. It has been noticed that people in the Mediterranean region, an area of three continents, differ in their culture, tradition and food habit, but lead very similar active lifestyles and share similar eating habits. It was observed that cases of chronic heart diseases, diabetes, gallstones and cancers were minimal in the Mediterranean region.

The daily Mediterranean diet includes mostly fresh vegetables, fruit mainly as dessert, cereals, whole grain breads, pastas legumes, beans and nuts cooked in olive oil. The diet is supplemented by low to moderate use of milk, cheese and yogurt along with mostly red wine or water. Seafood, poultry and eggs are a weekly add on to the diet, and the consumption of red meat is limited to few times a month. Sweet and dessert intake is also limited to a few days a week. Fruit is the most preferred type of dessert.

The Mediterranean diet is well-balanced with a supply of essential vitamins, minerals, low in saturated fat, salt and sugar to ensure good health. As stated, people in the Mediterranean region lead active lives, but they also find enough time to relax, enjoy and socialize with every meal. This, in turn, helps in digestion of food and proper functioning of body systems.

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