Mediterranean Diet Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

If this article heading made you say, “of course,” then you're on the right track. It's incredible how long it has taken Americans to look to other, healthier cultures for dietary guidance. You know, the ones who get to blow out 110 candles on their birthday cakes? Strangely, we stumble upon eastern health examples only after imitating other aspects of their cultures like fashion, music, and technology.

There are a lot of other newer, health and detox diets that attempt to promote the same health goals and have many similarities. The Anti-Inflammatory diet, Anti-Mucous diet, Macrobiotic diet, and Eat to Health (non-diet), are only a few. They promote incorporation of more raw foods and vegetables, elimination and reduction of meats, dairies, and processed foods, and high sources of fiber and healthy protein like beans, nuts, seeds, and organic meats. With those basic rules, you can enjoy lots of delicious foods and call your diet anything you like!

~Health Freedoms

A review of 50 existing academic papers, which looked at half a million people, found that those who ate the traditional meals served in Greece or Italy were less likely to have the health problems that can lead to heart disease.

It follows previous claims that eating meals rich in olive oil, fresh vegetables, fruit and fish – rather than red meat and dairy products – is effective in protecting against cancer and dementia.

In the latest study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers at Harokopio University of Athens looked at the effects of the Mediterranean diet on “metabolic syndrome”, a combination of disorders such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure that often lead to heart disease or stroke.

They found that existing studies showed that a Mediterranean diet has “proven beneficial effects” in reducing metabolic syndrome itself and its constituent parts, such as a large waist, high blood pressure and high levels of fat known as triglycerides in the bloodstream.

The “antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects” of the food stuffs are thought to contribute to their lowering of heart disease risk.

Lead researcher Demosthenes Panagiotakos said: “To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first work that has systematically assessed, through a large meta-analysis, the role of the Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome and its components.

“Our results add to the existing knowledge, and further demonstrate the protective role and the significance that lifestyle factors, and mainly dietary habits, have when it comes to the development and progression of the metabolic syndrome.”

He added: “Metabolic syndrome is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease (directly or indirectly), associated with personal and socio-economic burdens. As a result, prevention of this condition is of considerable importance.”

Meanwhile a separate study has claimed that children are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life, putting them at higher risk of contracting heart disease or cancer, if their mothers ate poorly during pregnancy.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge say that a gene known as Hnf4a, which has been linked to diabetes, is regulated by the maternal diet through modifications to DNA.

By Martin Beckford, Health Correspondent