Mediterranean Diet News 2013February 27, 2013 Written by JP [Font too small?]
By now, most health conscious individuals are at least somewhat familiar with “The Mediterranean Diet”. This eating style, popularized in countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain, emphasizes whole foods that are rich in dietary fiber, monounsaturated and omega-3 fats and overall nutrient density. Menu items such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, olives and olive oil, red wine and wild caught fish are commonplace in this region of the world. And, while this is an ancient style of eating, modern science has been studying it quite extensively over of the past few decades.
From the very start, scientists have been most interested in the effects of a Med diet on the cardiovascular system. Heart attacks and strokes continue to top the list of 21st century health threats for most of the world, but to a lesser extent in select communities that border the Mediterranean Sea. Numerous investigations point to regional dietary patterns as a possible preventative factor. Thankfully, there is encouraging news for all of us who live elsewhere. Studies conducted throughout the world suggest that anyone can benefit from adopting a Mediterranean style diet. The latest evidence is presented in the current, online edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors of the publication conclude that eating a Mediterranean diet with supplemental nuts (30 grams/day as 15 grams walnuts, 7.5 grams hazelnuts and 7.5 grams almonds) or extra-virgin olive oil (1 liter per week) reduces the incidence of major cardiovascular events by upwards of 30%!
It’s long been understood that Mediterranean food plans assist with the management of healthier blood sugar, body weight and lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides). But, lately, several new mechanisms have emerged as reasons why a Med diet plan may shield the cardiovascular system. Detailed analysis of human nutrigenomic trials reveal that Mediterranean diets positively influence gene expression so as to lower inflammation, oxidative stress and the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Other lesser known risk factors for heart disease like elevated uric acid and sub-optimal adiponectin also appear to be responsive to diets rich in Mediterranean foods. What’s more, the adoption of a Med diet has been shown to augment body fat distribution in a manner that tends to lower cardiovascular mortality risk. Last, but not least, is the role that Mediterranean eating has on mood and quality of life. Researchers based in Australia and the Netherlands report that adherence to a Med diet reduces the prevalence of depressive symptoms and psychological distress – both of which are strongly suspected of contributing to heart attacks and strokes.
Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!
To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:
Study 1 – Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease w/ a Mediterranean Diet … (link)
Study 2 – Up-To Date Knowledge On the In Vivo Transcriptomic Effect of the … (link)
Study 3 – Dietary Intake and Major Food Sources of Polyphenols in a Spanish … (link)
Study 4 – Mediterranean Diet Intervention for Patients w/ Hyperuricemia … (link)
Study 5 – Uric Acid Best Predicts Metabolically Unhealthy Obesity w/ Increased … (link)
Study 6 – Relationship Between a Mediterranean Diet & Circulating Adiponectin … (link)
Study 7 – Chapter Eleven – Adiponectin in the Heart and Vascular System … (link)
Study 8 – Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and Body Fat Distribution … (link)
Study 9 – Mediterranean Dietary Pattern & Prevalence & Incidence of Depressive … (link)
Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet May Improve Psychological Outlook
Source: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Jan;67(1):75-82. (link)
Posted in Food and Drink, Heart Health, Nutrition