Friday, 2 September 2016

Mediterranean diet

What is Mediterranean diet?

 Mediterranean diet originates from Greece and Italy. The Mediterranean diet puts emphasis on eating plant-based food and making olive oil and canola oil as the main source of fat.
This diet recently rose to fame due to multiple types of research supporting its benefits against heart diseases, cancer, and many other health problems.


Does Mediterranean diet help in preventing heart attacks?

Following Mediterranean diet has positive effects on cardiovascular health. Just recently in European Society of Cardiology meeting, a group of researchers presented their research findings. They studied 1197 patients with heart problems and found that there was 34% lesser risk of dying from heart-related issues in those who strictly followed Mediterranean diet. 

Many other types of research also strongly support Mediterranean diet. For example, a research by Bihuniak et al focused on post-menopausal women. Post-menopausal women have reduced female hormones and thus are more susceptible to heart problems when their menopause hits. In this study after 12 weeks of following Mediterranean style diet, a significant increase in HDL (good cholesterol) and reduction in bad cholesterol “triglyceride” is observed. 

Will blood sugar level be in control with this diet?

Image |Pixabay
There are two types of diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is seen among children and due to “autoimmune” disease which means our own body starts to kill off our insulin-producing cells. In a recent research, published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition Mediterranean diet there is strong evidence to suggest Mediterranean diet improves blood glucose level in those with type 1 diabetes mellitus.

"drop in fasting blood glucose up to 2.2mmol/l (40mg/dl)"

Mediterranean diet is also proven to be effective against Type 2 diabetes mellitus, the one that commonly affect adults. In a review done by scientists from Italy, following Mediterranean diet “may help prevent type 2 diabetes” and also improved sugar control in those having diabetes. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet had a drop in fasting blood glucose up to 2.2mmol/l (40mg/dl). 
Does eating more olive oil, nuts and less meat prevent cancer?

There are many types of research claiming Mediterranean diet can prevent breast cancer and prevent relapses in those who had breast cancer. But most of the studies are small scaled and not strong in terms of evidence. For now, there is no enough evidence to say Mediterranean diet can prevent breast cancer, even though the evidence for prevention of heart diseases is strong.

How do I start eating the Mediterranean way?

Here are some simple steps to follow
  1. Increase intake of vegetables, beans, and whole grain. 
  2. Do not take red meat, substitute it with fish
  3. Use olive oil for cooking and salad dressing  
  4. Eat more fruits and use it for snack time
  5. Red wine is allowed but not more than two glasses per day
For some delicious recipes using Mediterranean diet, visit this website


For further reading

1.     European Cardiology on Mediterranean Diet

2.     Post-menopausal status and Mediterranean Diet

3.     Type 2 Diabetes and Mediterranean diet

4.     Type 1 Diabetes and Mediterranean diet

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