A letter signed by top physicians was addressed to Jeremy Hunt, the British Health Secretary right before the G8 meetings planned on the topic of Dementia, explaining why the Mediterranean diet may be the best solution for protection against this chronic disease.
The letter explains that they believe that “there has been insufficient emphasis on the role of diet and lifestyle – factors which have been shown to be associated with a dramatically reduced risk of developing dementia. In particular, a Mediterranean-style diet is pre-eminent in preventing and slowing the progression of Dementia.”
In the letter they provide references of studies and reviews that show that adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with slower cognitive decline and lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
They continue by saying that there is low awareness and prestige given to the diet by the medical profession and that a Mediterranean-style diet may possibly be the best strategy currently available for tackling dementia – is being largely ignored. They add that this may be an opportunity to change policy to be more supportive of a Mediterranean diet rather than the dubious effect of drugs.
The letter, developed by General Practitioner and proponent of the Mediterranean diet Simon Poole was signed by among others, Greece’s top Mediterranean Diet researcher Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou, but also Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Medicine and chair of the department of nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health.
But wait, so several doctors are suggesting to the British health minister to consider the Mediterranean diet as a way to protect against dementia?
Shouldn’t this be happening in Greece? Greece has a high use of prescription drugs and actually the highest use of antibiotics in Europe. Plus many have abandoned the Mediterranean diet. Yes, it seems that Greeks but more importantly Greek physicians and pharmacists are ignoring the famous words of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine”.
Yes, studies have shown over and over again the positive relationship of following a Mediterranean diet and protection from various chronic diseases. Let’s use it to our benefit. It is that simple.
The full list of physicians and other health professionals who signed the letter:
- Dr Simon Poole, GP
- Dr Richard Hoffman (University of Hertfordshire)
- Dr Aseem Malhotra (Cardiologist)
- Simon Capewell, Professor of clinical epidemiology University of Liverpool
- Professor David Haslam, Chair National Obesity Forum (UK)
- Professor Clare Gerada, ( Former Chair Royal College of General Practitioners)
- Dr Mariette Gerber (former President French Nutrition Society)
- Dr Antonia Trichopoulou (Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Nutrition at the Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Athens)
- Sara Baer-Sinnott (President Oldways Association, US)
- Prof Walter Willett (Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health)
- Dr Francesco Sofi, (University of Florence, Italy)