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Mediterranean Diet May Influence Our Genes For The Best

August 14, 2013

cretan snails

More important research on the Mediterranean diet. In this study researchers from Tufts University and universities from around Spain observed that people who followed a Mediterranean diet and were carriers of a specific gene that has been strongly associated with the development of diabetes and maybe cardiovascular risk had a reduced risk of stroke compared to those who did not follow the diet.

The researchers wanted to investigate whether the Mediterranean Diet can regulate the association of the gene and diabetes and heart disease incidence. They gathered data from 7,000 men and women (from the PREDIMED trial) assigned to either a Mediterranean or low fat control diet and monitored them for cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack for almost five years.

Results
The results showed that of the participants that had the specific gene, those who followed a Mediterranean diet had a significant reduction in strokes compared to those who did not follow the diet. Lead author, Jose Ordovas Ph.D. who is a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and a pioneer in the field of nutrigenomics noted: “Being on the Mediterranean diet reduced the number of strokes in people with two copies of the variant. The food they ate appeared to eliminate any increased stroke susceptibility”, adding that the results were quite different in the control group following the low fat control diet, where carriers were almost three times as likely to have a stroke. In addition, the gene carriers who followed the Mediterranean diet also had lower blood sugar levels as well as lower levels of cholesterol (total and LDL).

So basically it appears that the Mediterranean diet can influence how our genes react in certain situations. Ordovas mentioned that this study is the first to identify a gene-diet interaction-affecting stroke in a nutrition intervention trial carried out over a number of years in thousands of men and women.

I also thought that is was interesting that the study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Health the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Innovation. I wish that the Greek government would also fund these types of studies as we have great researchers but also the prototype of Mediterranean diet to work with. Perhaps in the future…

The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care and you can read about it by clicking here.

Photo for flickr by jlaceda

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2 Comments

  • Reply Susan Stavros September 16, 2013 at 1:43 am

    I am interested in Mastiha Gum, my mum used it when we were young and lived in Melbourne, would like to be able to buy or order on line some mastiha gum for use and for better health.

    Please email me information of outlets and also is it possible to plant trees in Tasmania.

    yours sincerely

    Susan Stavros

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RD September 16, 2013 at 6:29 am

      Hi Susan,
      I have written about mastiha here.
      There are several online stores that carry mastiha, and there is also the mastiha shop. I am not an expert on growing mastiha, but one of the unique characteristics is that this type (with the mastiha tears) only grows on the island of Chios.

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