Mediterranean magic

September 22, 2008

It’s not up to date news, just a reminder of something that will substantially improve your health – and is enjoyable as well. I am off on a Mediterranean cruise calling near to Florence in a few weeks, so when a piece of research from that area came in it caught my attention. The British Medical Journal this week published a study from the University of Florence that showed that people who followed an authentic Mediterranean diet lived longer and suffered few serious diseases.

The so-called Mediterranean Diet had great favour a few years ago, but sadly it is no longer followed as strictly or by as many people – even in the Mediterranean itself. So what are the benefits? Well research done on an extremely large scale and across Mediterranean populations and others in the U.S., Northern Europe, and a group of Europeans living in Australia gave impressive results.

Dr Sofi of the University of Florence and colleagues followed the diets of 1,574,299 individuals for intervals of three to 18 years, and showed that those who followed the dietary rules got all this:

** a 9% lower overall death rate

** a 9% lower risk of dying from heart disease

** a 6% lower incidence of contracting, or dying from cancer

** a 13% lower risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease

** a 13% lower risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease

And what do you have to suffer to achieve these impressive improvements in your health and longevity? The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, cereals, fish, nuts, olive oil, and a moderate intake of red wine during meals. So that’s no hardship is it? On the downside the diet is also low in red meat, dairy products, and alcohol in large quantities BUT the key word is low. You don’t have to give them up altogether just eat moderately in comparison to the other elements of the diet – we may not have much Mediterranean sunshine at the moment, but we can at least benefit from their dietary habits!


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