May is International Mediterranean Diet Month, dedicated to the Mediterranean diet, a style of eating that has been hailed for its numerous heath benefits. Here are some of our articles highlighting these benefits with regards to type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hip fractures, and stroke.
The Mediterranean diet has been shown to improve overall health and it really isn’t that complicating to follow. In these articles, not only will you discover the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, but you will also learn how to eat in such a way.
Mediterranean diet may prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and reduce brain cell loss
A study published in Neurology revealed that following the Mediterranean diet may reduce brain cell loss in old age. The researchers uncovered that consuming red meat – somewhat of a staple in the Western diet – actually shrinks the brain, and those who consume more fish, fruits, vegetables, and grains have larger brain volume.
Study author Dr. Yian Gu said, “It was encouraging to see that the more you adhere to this Mediterranean diet, the more protection you get against brain atrophy [shrinkage]. For people interested in the diet and lifestyle factors leading to better health, I think this is another study consistent with previous studies that indicate the Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet.”
To conduct the study, the team divided 674 adults based on their adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Participants underwent brain scans to determine brain volume and thickness. Diet and eating patterns were measured through questionnaires the participants had to answer.
Those who did not follow the Mediterranean diet had smaller brain volume, which equated to at least five years worth of aging.
Dr. Gu recommends consuming three to five servings of fish each week and limiting other meat to 3.5 ounces a day for optimal brain protection. Continue reading…
Rheumatoid arthritis management with nutrition, Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory diets
Rheumatoid arthritis management can be achieved through an anti-inflammatory diet and Mediterranean diet in order to reduce inflammation. Nutrition plays a vital role in all of our bodily functions and eating the right foods can mean the difference between good or poor health. Many foods are natural healers, so it should be of no surprise that food can play a role in managing rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Overall, rheumatoid arthritis patients are recommended to consume a healthy, balanced diet to maintain a healthy weight. Guidelines found in the Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, fourth edition, describe what kind of diet patients with rheumatoid arthritis should stick to. The recommendations suggest eating a variety of foods, balancing healthy eating habits with physical activity, consuming plenty of grains, fruits, and vegetables, sticking with a low-fat diet, which is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol, moderating sugar intake, and drinking alcohol in moderation.
The best way to eat, regardless of whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or not, is to stick with whole, real foods and avoid anything that’s been processed as much as possible. Continue reading…
Hip fracture risk in women reduced with Mediterranean diet
Enjoying healthy eating regimen like the Mediterranean diet may help reduce the risk of hip fractures in older women. The study found that women whose diet closely resembled the Mediterranean diet – plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish – had a 20 percent reduction in hip fractures, compared to women who did not eat in this style.
Although the researchers could not prove cause and effect, they did note that, “these results support the notion that following a healthy dietary pattern may play a role in the maintenance of bone health in postmenopausal women.” Continue reading…
High protein diet, Mediterranean diet linked to lower stroke risk
A high protein diet, as seen in the Mediterranean diet, is linked to lower stroke risk, according to new study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The research included seven studies with a total of 254,489 participants followed for 14 years on average.
Overall, the participants with the highest amount of protein in their diets – particularly from fish – were at least 20 percent less likely to develop a stroke than those with the lowest amount of protein in their diets.
For every additional 20 grams of protein people ate per day – say a three-ounce serving of chicken or fish, or a cup of beans, for example – their risk of stroke lowered by another 26 percent. The results, of course, took into account other nutrients that may prevent stroke, such as potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber, as well as other factors that could increase the risk of stroke, like smoking and high cholesterol.
These findings, however, do not apply to red meat, which has been proven to raise the risk for stroke and, therefore, was not looked at in the studies. (Forgo the steak for some wild salmon on the barbecue.)
Also, some evidence suggests that animal protein is more effective than vegetable protein. But at this time, there isn’t enough data on vegetable consumption to come to this conclusion.
“The amount of protein that led to the reduced risk was moderate – equal to 20 grams per day,” said study author Xinfeng Liu of China’s Nanjing University School of Medicine. “If everyone’s protein intake were at this level, that would translate to more than 1.4 million fewer deaths from stroke each year worldwide, plus a decreased level of disability from stroke.” Continue reading…
Olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet reduces risk of breast cancer
We all know that the Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil is great for health, and now a recent study says it helps reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Thanks to the new study, we can now add breast cancer prevention to the long list of benefits that come from consuming the Mediterranean diet. In the study, researchers assessed the effect the Mediterranean diet rich in extra virgin olive oil had on the risk of breast cancer among women in Spain.
The details of the study are available in an online article published by JAMA Internal Medicine.
Before we go into details about the study, let’s take a closer look at how the Mediterranean diet and olive oil impact health. Continue reading…