Posted on Sun, 17 Oct 10
An analysis of studies involving over 2 million people clearly show that following a few traditional eating habits can reduce your risk of life threatening illness and improve your quality of life.
Traditional dietary patterns that focus on close to nature, plant-based, unprocessed, seasonal, organic foods have been shown to prevent disease and promote optimal health. One such dietary pattern emerged around the time of the Ancient Greeks and Romans on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and has lasted for centuries into present times.
The Mediterranean diet has been the subject of a tremendous amount of research in recent years and a new study set out to give us a clear view of the overall evidence for this dietary patterns ability to prevent serious disease or death by analysing 18 studies, with a combined study population of 2,190,627 people, across several countries, with a follow-up time that ranged from 4 to 20 years.
The analysis found that even a slight increase in adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern is significantly associated with a reduced risk of premature death and the incidence of the main chronic degenerative diseases. Specifically a modest increase in adherence was associated with a 8% reduction of death from any causes, a 10% reduction from death and/or incidence of heart disease and stroke, a 6% reduction from death and/or the incidence of cancer, and a 13% reduction of the incidence of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment.
“The Mediterranean-style diet is not a specific diet,” point out the study authors, “but rather a collection of eating habits traditionally followed by people in the different countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The diet refers to a dietary profile commonly available in the early 1960s in the Mediterranean regions and characterized by a high consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, and complex carbohydrates, with a moderate consumption of fish, and the consumption of olive oil as the main source of fats and a low-to-moderate amount of red wine during meals.” Being mindful of the basic principles of a traditional Mediterranean diet is a simple and delicious way to improve your health.
Sofi F, Abbate R, Gensini GF, Casini A. Accruing evidence about benefits of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on health: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Sep 1. [Epub ahead of print]