The Mediterranean Diet is a collection of dietary habits followed by countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The diet consists of high olive oil, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fruits and nuts with moderate amounts of fish and poultry, low red meat and dairy and low to moderate alcohol consumption. There is no single Mediterranean diet. In Italy for instance, the total lipid intake is 30%, while in Greece it is close to 40%. Think of this way of eating as a lifestyle and an intervention to prevent chronic diseases of aging. You can let food be your medicine. Many scientific studies have been done evaluating the effects of a Mediterranean type diet. In 2014, a study published in the journal Diabetic Care stated that in patients with Type 2 diabetes, a Mediterranean type diet resulted in greater reduction of Hemoglobin A1-C levels, a higher rate of diabetes remission and delayed need for diabetes medication compared with a low fat diet. The Lyon heart Study reported significantly decreased mortality rates in the group using the Mediterranean Diet with a 70% decrease in death and recurrent cardiac events.
Substantial evidence exists to indicate that diets using non-hydrogenated fats (e.g. olive oil) as the predominant dietary fat, whole grains as the main source for carbohydrates, an abundance of fruits and vegetables and adequate omega-3-fatty acids can offer significant protection against coronary heart disease. And in the HALE Study, the conclusion was that among individuals aged 70-90 years, adherence to a Mediterranean Diet and healthful lifestyle is associated with more than a 50% lower rate of all cause and cause-specific mortality. Many other scientific and statistically significant studies confirm these results that the Mediterranean Diet/Lifestyle will prevent type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Lifestyle intervention as medicine works well and nutritional habits are the primary line of defense. And it is now a fact that adherence to a Mediterranean type diet DOES prolong life!
A typical Western Diet increases a substance called Caveolin 1 which increases inflammation in the body and subsequently increases atherosclerosis. The Mediterranean Diet decreases Cave-in 1 subsequently decreasing inflammation and atherosclerosis.
So let’s go back to the quote in the introduction. A diet such as the Mediterranean, or any healthy diet that relies on fruits, vegetables and whole grains has the problem of contamination with persistent organic pollutants. Sir Albert Howard was correct in noting that the problem of health is a problem of healthy soil, plant, animal and man. Non-organic produce has been subjected to chemical fertilizers, pesticides (450 of them), herbicides, human waste, nitrates, genetically modified seeds antibiotics, hormones and irradiation. Organic food and produce on the other hand is a product of natural fertilizers, no pesticides, crop rotation, no waste products, minimal nitrates, healthy seeds and no hormones or antibiotics. The industrialized food system which has become so prevalent is a disease causing and life shortening machine. Animal feeding operations are abominable, antibiotic consumption is rampant and the resultant obesity and type 2 diabetes is now epidemic. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to get back to a healthy way of eating and enjoying food In the last several posts, we talked of a Paleo type diet, which in itself is powerful medicine for type 2 diabetes. Here I have analyzed the Mediterranean Diet which can be protective against heart disease as well as diabetes. You do have choices and healthy ones at that. And if this is not enough to convince you to embark on a lifestyle change, ask yourselves the following question: “When was the last time I felt TRULY well?” Nutrition can change your lives…for the better!