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Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet include a reduction in the number of strokes. Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet include a reduction in the number of strokes.

Research shows that eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce memory and thinking decline by 24%. The Mediterranean diet, previously prescribed to prevent heart disease and promote weight loss, has also been shown to increase longevity and prevent depression.

The Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet that includes olive oil and red wine. The diet is low in sugar and red meat.

What is the Mediterranean diet?

The Mediterranean diet is a diet based on the typical food consumption in the Mediterranean area of southern Europe, mainly Greece and Italy. The diet consists of plentiful servings of vegetables, whole grains and beans. Seafood is eaten twice a week, and limited amounts of dairy and eggs are included. Red meat and sugar are avoided, as is most alcohol consumption, but red wine is allowed. Salt is replaced by flavorful spices, and butter is replaced by olive oil. The Mediterranean diet is high in fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats like virgin olive oils are preferred. For dairy, the Mediterranean diet suggests cheese and yogurt, and it also limits eggs to no more than four per week. For dessert, they recommend fresh fruit. Beans and legumes are favored, using lentils and chickpeas dishes like hummus. The Mediterranean diet became popular in the 1990s when it was publicized by Dr. Ancel Key, an American living in Italy at the time.

About the research on Mediterranean diet and memory retention

The five-year long study on Mediterranean diet and memory was conducted on people age 55 and older. Published in the journal, Neurology, the study utilized 27,860 people from 40 different countries. The study's author was Andrew Smyth of McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. The study participants all had a history of either heart disease, stroke, or other peripheral artery disease. Those with recent, acute health conditions were excluded. The participants were given memory and thinking skill tests at the beginning of the study, and then again after two and then at five years. They were questioned about their specific food intake, such as meat, grains, soy, vegetables, fruit, fried foods, and meat, dairy and alcohol consumption. Each participant was studied for five years, or until they experienced a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or death.

Study results

The study showed that those with the healthiest diets had lower cognitive decline. Of the 27,860 people in the study, 4,699 had a memory decline. The study tracked the 5,687 healthiest eaters and found that they had only a 14 percent memory decline, while the others had an 18 percent decline. Study organizer, Andrew Smyth commented, ""Adoption of a healthy diet probably begins early in life, and a healthy diet might also go along with the adoption of other healthy behaviors."

Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet include a reduction in the number of strokes. An Italian study stated that those on the diet had a better health-related quality of life (HRQL), ostensibly because of the increased dietary fiber as well as the antioxidants. Research in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that the Mediterranean diet was beneficial for heart health. Other research suggests the diet can slow aging, reduce the risk of stroke and the risk of endometrial cancer. Some research suggests that the diet can prevent diabetes, but this is inconclusive, because the amount of complex carbohydrates is not considered beneficial to many people with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet

Other benefits of the Mediterranean diet include a reduction in the number of strokes. An Italian study stated that those on the diet had a better health-related quality of life (HRQL), ostensibly because of the increased dietary fiber as well as the antioxidants. Research in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that the Mediterranean diet was beneficial for heart health. Other research suggests the diet can slow aging, reduce the risk of stroke and the risk of endometrial cancer. Some research suggests that the diet can prevent diabetes, but this is inconclusive, because the amount of complex carbohydrates is not considered beneficial to many people with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil boosts bone health

Bone health is not something that most people think about until it becomes an issue, which usually happens later in life. While men and women can both suffer from weakening of the bones, it is a particular issue for women, especially after they hit menopause. This is because of the drop in estrogen levels that menopause brings with it - a drop which can lead to loss of calcium from the bones. It is this loss which, in turn, leads to brittle bones. These brittle bones can put women at a risk of serious fractures, including fractures of the hip which can lead to a permanent loss of mobility and independence.

However, it was noticed that women in Mediterranean countries, which have a high consumption of olive oil, have a reduced risk of weakened bones. And there is some evidence that there is a link between bone strength and olive oil consumption. This articles explores why.

Olive oil and the Mediterranean diet

Women in the Mediterranean countries typically consume a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, and also one rich in olive oil, typically at least 2-4 tablespoons daily. The kind of olive oil consumed is the very richest in nutrients, which is extra virgin and first-pressed. It is believed that this consumption is good for general health and for bone strength.

The reason for these health benefits is due to the presence of antioxidant phenolic compounds. These compounds are able to reduce inflammation throughout the body, lower cholesterol levels, prevent oxidative stress to the cells and reduce the chances of heart attacks and strokes. It is also believed that regular consumption of olive oil can help lower the risk of certain cancers, such as cancer of the colon.

The study of olive oil consumption in relation to bone health is relatively new. It is believed that olive oil's contribution to bone health is partly due to the fact that it is rich in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and water soluble components. It is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid, and linoleic acid as well. Research, dating as far back as the 1980s, showed a link between bone health and high intake of monounsaturated fat and low intake of polyunsaturated fats - the kind of balance found in olive oil. The first clinical study of this, back in 2008, was done on laboratory animals. It was found that rats who were given a diet enriched in olive oil showed increased bone formation. It is believed that the phenolic compounds in olive oil help to support the mineralization and development of bone tissue. In 2013, another study, this time on humans, showed that increased olive oil consumption over two years was linked to increased levels of calcium in the bones.

This is another good argument, if any is needed, that the Mediterranean diet truly is a good choice for anyone interested in long-term health. Not only does it help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, it can also lead to strong and healthy bones that can reduce the risk of fractures and lead to better quality of life as someone ages.

Source: NaturalNews

Last modified onThursday, 02 November 2017 11:57
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