Benefit Of Mediterranian Diet: The astounding facts

Numerous recent research findings support the health benefit of Mediterranian diet, lifestyle and Mediterranean food being the most sensible healthy eating option open to you; irrespective of your current health circumstances.

The eating habits of people of the Mediterranean region has, since 1950's up until recently, been the subject of extensive studies, it having been observed that Mediterranean people - and Cretians in particular, have an exceptionally long life expectancy.

These studies subsequently triggered numerous investigations into the health benefit of Mediterranian diet; the Mediterranean people's low incidence of degenerative diseases; their longevity, while at the same time throwing further light on a number of contributory factors pertaining to the many health benefits of Mediterranian diet and Mediterranean people's lifestyle.

benefit of Mediterranian diet in decreasing incidence of chronic illnesses

The general consensus among health professionals as to the benefit of Mediterranian diet and Mediterranean food, is that it is far healthier than the North European and American diet.

The health benefit of Mediterranean diet is largely attributed to Mediterranean foods consisting largely of grains, fruit, vegetables, beans (legumes), nuts and olive oil. Olive oil, in place of saturated animal fats (such as butter, milk, cream, lard etc.,) provide a rich source of monounsaturated fats, that guards against heart disease.

There is firm proof that olive oil provide one of the key health benefit of the Mediterranian diet. Not only is it healthy, olive oil - which contains antioxidants, can actually help lower harmful LDL cholesterol and inhibit arterial build-up. This is further evidenced by the surprising finding of the Seven Countries Study that despite consuming up to 40 percent of their calories from fat, people living on the Greek Island of Crete, had the lowest rate of heart disease and the highest life expectancy in the world - along with Japan.

The clear health benefit of Mediterranian diet, which is low in harmful saturated fats, yet high in unsaturated fats - derived from olive oil and oily fish, has clearly established the reason Mediterranean people experience lower incidence of heart disease.

Further evidence of the benefit of Mediterranian diet being a healthy option for people with heart disease, is borne out of research and in particular, the Lyon Heart Study, published in 1999 (Journal of the American Heart Association).

Research was conducted on two random groups of heart attack survivors studied over a two year period. One group were advised to eat a low fat diet designed for heart patients, while the other group were assigned the Mediterranian diet. The positive effects and benefit of the Mediterranean diet on the group began to occur within the first two months of observation. The additional health benefit on Mediterranian diet group were plain to see, since their risk of a second heart attack was dramatically reduced by 70% compared to those eating the low fat diet.

The study, which was scheduled to run for five years was brought to an end on ethical grounds, since it was found that the health benefit of Mediterranian diet equated to a 70% lower death rate compared to the other group. A further significant discovery as to the bennefit of Mediterranian diet related to the finding that cancer rates among the Mediterranean diet group were significantly lower than those of the other group.

These findings were unique, in as much as there had never before been any such results from other types of diet, drug or even medical procedure, marking a turning point in the whole concept of the healthy eating diet.

Various other research carried out to study the benefit of Mediterranian diet / Asian diet and lifestyles, attest to this way of healthy eating and healthy living being a sensible option for decreasing the risks of many chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, the onset diabetes, prostrate, colon and breast cancers, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Other documented benefits of the Mediterranian diet include body fat loss, lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and increased energy levels. Overall, the apparent health benefit of Mediterranean diet would appear to be, not merely about what and how you eat but equally about how you live.

benefit of Mediterranian diet on longevity

In addition to the numerous research showing the lowered incidence of chronic diseases of coronary heart disease and cancers etc., a further benefit of Mediterranian diet is an above average expected life-span.

A 4 year study of many thousands of people residing in Greece, assessed their health in accordance with how closely they followed their traditional mediterranean diet. It was found that the more closely they did so, the less likelihood there was of their dying from either cancer or heart-related disease. The findings also found a further benefit of Mediterranian diet being that those who followed the diet, derived an advantage of being less likely to die in the study's duration.

From yet another study into the Asian diet, it emerged that when people from one Japanese Island settled in Western countries, adopting Western diets and lifestyles, their life expectancy dropped by 17 years.

The Seven Countries Study by Professor Ancel Keys in 1958, studied the diet, lifestyle and incidence of coronary heart disease among several thousand randomly selected middle- aged men from seven countries - i.e. the US, Italy, Greece, Japan, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland and the Netherlands. The study, which lasted for over 10 years, revealed that in the Mediterranean and Asian countries - i.e. Greece, Japan and Southern Italy, where diets consist of vegetables, grains, fruit, beans, nuts and fish, heart disease was rare. However, in the other countries - e.g. the Finland and the US where saturated fats were being heavily consumed via foods such as red meat, cheese and refined products, heart disease was found to be high.

Professor Keys concluded that while diet played a primary role in the onset of coronary heart disease, that food intake was not perhaps the only benefit of Mediterranian diet and that there may be other factors involved. He observed that both Mediterranean and Asian people led active lifestyles, had strong family ties and that their pace of life was leisurely. In a nutshell, his findings showed that although the Mediterranian food and diet was the single most important factor, it was a combination of dietary and lifestyle considerations that were credited with the notable low rates of heart disease among the Mediterranean and Asian countries.

The evidence points to the fact that Mediterranean people who become accustomed to a Western diet and lifestyle, are substantially increasing their risk of developing chronic diseases. Conversely other studies show that non-Mediterranean people who adopt the Mediterranean lifestyle and the Mediterranean diet, significantly improve their health, at the same time by decreasing their risk exposure to diseases.

The significance of these findings shed light on the fact that both Mediterranean and Asian people who adhere to their traditional lifestyles and eating habits, are the longest living; and, that this has nothing to do with genetics but is primarily the result of a healthy eating diet and lifestyle.

"Some people have learned to earn well, but they haven't learned to live well". (Jim Rohn)

Self-Help resources: benefit of Mediterranean diet on longevity

Click Here! To learn how you too can adopt and gain from the many benefits of Mediterranian diet and lifestyle. A clear benefit of Mediterranian diet is that it can specifically help you to lose weight at the same time you're becoming healthier.

You might also find helpful, the extensive list of frequently asked questions (Faq's) on what is the Mediterranean diet

There are various food pyramids and it can be difficult to distinguish between them. If you're curious or confused as to what the USDA Pyramid, the MyPyramid or the Healthy Eating Pyramid each stands for, you can find out here.

Reference Sources:

Keys A. Mediterranean diet and public health: personal reflections. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1995) 61:1321S-1323S.

Kromhout D, Keys A, Aravanis C, et al. Food consumption patterns in the 1960s in seven countries. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1989) 49:889-894.

Keys A. Seven countries: a multivariate analysis of death and coronary heart disease. London: Harvard University Press, 1980.

The information on this site is purely of educational value and is not intended to replace your seeking medical advice. You must consult your doctor over all your health concerns.

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