Once again new research shows that adopting a Mediterranean style diet will protect your heart and help you live longer. Specifically this large, multi-center study led by John Hopkins researchers found that following a Mediterranean style diet, along with exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking all work together to prolong life. According to their research these 4 lifestyle changes reduced chance of death from all causes by 80 percent. Yes, you read right 80 percent. They also protected against coronary heart disease as well as the early buildup of calcium deposits in heart arteries. Read more »
The Mediterranean diet has become the “it” diet. While it has been gaining popularity since the 1990’s when the Mediterranean diet Pyramid was presented by Harvard and the World Health Organization researchers along with other experts, today its popularity has reached new heights. Ever since the New York Times presented a recent Spanish study showing that the diet may be better for the heart than a low fat diet, the media has gone crazy. Numerous e-books on the diet literally appeared overnight, articles on the diet were everywhere, Mediterranean style recipes are popping up on all the food websites and blogs, and basically everybody not only has an opinion on the diet but they also feel that they can dispense advice on a diet that they may have never experienced themselves.
So here are the 5 biggest misconceptions going around: Read more »
Well, it is May and it is International Mediterranean Month once again. And these studies came in just in time. Although the findings are not new, recent research confirms and strengthens the findings of previous studies.
So in the first study the reserachers basically found that closer adherence to a Mediterranean style diet resulted in a lower risk of memory loss. Information was gathered from over 17000 individuals above the age of 45 who were part of the REGARDS (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke) study. The study was published in the journal Neurology.
The second study which was actually a review of studies concluded that the Mediterranean diet can temper endothelial aging. The endothelium is the inner lining of our blood vessels. As we age oxidative stress can cause damage to the endothelium and this is associated with heart disease and cancer. The researchers based on their review concluded that a Mediterranean-style diet, improves vascular dysfunction and can play a role in the protection against the chronic diseases related to aging. The study was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.
So there we have it. More proof that a Mediterranean diet is good for you.
Happy Earth Day! Today I would take like to talk about how “green” the Mediterranean diet is. Contrary to what you may have read on the internet, in newspapers and magazines, the Mediterranean diet is not about eating salmon, imported cheese and expensive vegetables such as artichokes. This misinformation may give the impression that the Mediterranean not only is expensive but also not good for the planet if you have to eat imported vegetables and other foods from the other side of the world. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is quite the opposite; it is all about eating locally, in season and not letting anything go to waste.
The Mediterranean diet has actually been presented as a model and example for a sustainable diet for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). But apart from the diet as a system, we all can follow a Mediterranean diet and make the diet sustainable for the planet and us. The basic principles of the Mediterranean diet go hand in hand with sustainability. Read more »
The traditional coffee consumed in Greece, called ellinkos (the Greek), outside of Greece commonly known as Turkish or Arab coffee, may be good for the heart and one of the secrets of long life in Greeks, according to a new study.
The research comes from a larger study known as the Ikaria Study conducted by Greek researchers from the University of Athens where the investigated the lifestyle of the inhabitants of the Greek island of Ikaria who have one of the higest longevity rates in the world. One of the characteristics is that they drink coffee every day. The Greek researchers wanted to find out whether the elderly population’s coffee drinking had an effect on their health. In particular, the researchers investigated links between coffee-drinking habits and the subjects’ endothelial function. The endothelial is a group of cells that line the interior of blood vessels. When these cells are not functioning properly, it may lead to atherosclerosis-hardening of the arteries. Read more »
I am currently in Chicago for training for my position with the International Affiliate of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Every time I visit the U.S. I am always surprised by the number of advertisements for medications on television. It seems that every single little ailment should be treated with some sort of pill.
And what does the diet have to do with this? Well, the diet can be one of the most important preventative actions one can take. Hippocrates an ancient Greek physician had said let food be thy medicine and medicine is thy food. And more and more evidence is showing that what Hippocrates had said thousands of years ago is true today more then ever. Read more »
The media particularly in the U.S. has been going crazy with this latest study with headlines such as “Mediterranean Diet study rocks the medical world”, “Pour on the olive oil!” “The New Gold Standard”, “Mediterranean diet slashes risk”. Really? You would think that all these headlines would make me, of all people happy, but it is actually disappointing. These journalists are reporting this as if it is the first time they have ever heard that the Mediterranean diet is good for the heart.
The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine basically showed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet who were at high risk for heart disease had 30% less cardiovascular incidents compared to those who followed a low fat diet. This is wonderful news and the study is fine, it is the media coverage that is somewhat problematic.
Further Confirmation of the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet But Nothing New
The study was slightly over exaggerated in the media and I am not sure why. Perhaps because the Mediterranean diet appeared to have better results then the typical low-fat diet that is often prescribed. In any case this is not the first time we hear of this. In fact I had reported on preliminary results of this study (Predimed) in Olive Oil Times a year and half ago back in 2011 where researchers from the same intervention study showed that individuals who followed the Mediterranean diet were able to reverse arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries) more effectively then medication. Read more »
Centenarian Cretan Man, 2010
So February is National Heart Month in the U.S. and the U.K. as a way to increase awareness of heart disease. As the Mediterranean diet is known for its heart protecting qualities I could not let the month pass by without dedicating a post about it.
Now why do I have a photo of a very old (over 100) Cretan man? Well, we know that in the past that Greeks and particularly Cretans had one of the lowest rates of heart disease worldwide. One of the reasons being the diet. But what diet? You may say “the Mediterranean diet”, but what we are really talking about is the Greek diet and more specifically the Cretan diet. The Cretan diet (and the Greek generally) of the 50′s and 60′s was in essence the basis of the Mediterranean diet. The description of the Mediterranean diet today has been altered a bit compared to the original. In a great article by Registered Dietitian Rita Carey (she is not Greek, so no bias there) she says, “The term Mediterranean diet is rather misleading. The diet recommendations with this regional characterization are actually based, in large part, on an epidemiological study of men living in rural Crete in the 1950s.“ I couldn’t say it better myself. Read more »
It is well documented that the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial in the prevention and even in the management of several chronic diseases. However, many people believe that the Mediterranean diet is not necessarily a weight loss diet. Well, in fact there have been several studies that show that it may help with weight management, and with this new study we are finding out that it may even affect body fat percentage.
Body weight does not show you how much body fat you have. Body fat and particularly upper body fat is associated with several health issues. In many cases, a person can have a normal body weight but a high body fat percentage. Read more »