The Mediterranean diet is generally regarded as one of the world’s healthiest, most balanced diets. The high consumption of fish, fruits, vegetables, natural fats, seeds, nuts, and whole grains can improve overall health, encourage fat burning, and so much more.
Fight Cognitive Decline –A 2017 study1 found that older people who followed the Mediterranean diet (along with its similar counterpart, the MIND diet) performed better on cognitive tests, and had a lower chance of scoring poorly on the evidence. The diet has been linked to improved cognitive function, particularly among older people.
Reduce Heart Attack and Stroke Risk – A 2016 study2 found that a Mediterranean diet led to the lowest risk of major cardiac events (heart attacks and strokes) for close to four years of examination. The closer to the Mediterranean diet, the people were, the lower their risk of cardiac events.
Prevent Cardiovascular Inflammation – A 2014 study3 tied the Mediterranean diet to reduced levels of white blood cells and platelets, both of which are markers of low-grade inflammation. This inflammation has been linked to an increase in stroke and heart attack risk, meaning the Mediterranean diet can once again reduce the risk of cardiac events by decreasing the swelling triggered by oxidative stress and free radical damage.
Fight diabetes – Another 2014 study from the American College of Cardiology found that people who adopted the Mediterranean diet saw a 21% reduction in their diabetes risk compared to people who followed a more traditional western diet. Those at risk of cardiovascular disease also saw a 27% decrease in their diabetes risk when they followed the diet.
The beauty of the diet is that there are no strict eating guidelines, but it simply promotes the consumption of natural foods: nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, olive oil, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and even red wine. The healthy eating diet has been proven to be one of the best for your health.
However, recently, a study found that, yes, a Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease but only if you are rich or highly educated. The study is from the Italian I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed, who performed a study on over 18,000 subjects recruited within the Moli-sani study and published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The Moli-sani Project started in March 2005, it involves about 25,000 citizens living in the Molise region of Italy. The aim is to learn about environmental and genetic factors underlying cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative pathologies.
“The cardiovascular benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet in a general population are well known.” Says Marialaura Bonaccio, researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and first author of the study. “Yet for the first time our study has revealed that the socioeconomic position is able to modulate the health advantages linked to Mediterranean diet. In other words, a person from low socioeconomic status who struggles to follow a Mediterranean model is unlikely to get the same advantages of a person with higher income, despite the fact that they both similarly adhere to the same healthy diet.”
So, there you have it. There’s enough information out there to convince you to go Mediterranean, but only if you can afford it. Or, to put it another way, quality food counts for something. Preparation counts for something. Sadly, the price of good health is prohibitive for some people.
1. Claire T. McEvoy, Heidi Guyer, Kenneth M. Langa, Kristine Yaffe. “Neuroprotective Diets Are Associated with Better Cognitive Function: The Health and Retirement Study.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 2017.
2. Ralph A. H. Stewart, Lars Wallentin, Jocelyne Benatar, Nicolas Danchin, Emil Hagström, Claes Held, Steen Husted, Eva Lonn, Amanda Stebbins, Karen Chiswell, Ola Vedin, David Watson, Harvey D. White. “Dietary patterns and the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in a global study of high-risk patients with stable coronary heart disease.” European Heart Journal, 2016; ehw125.
3. M. Bonaccio, A. Di Castelnuovo, A. De Curtis, S. Costanzo, M. Persichillo, M. B. Donati, C. Cerletti, L. Iacoviello, G. de Gaetano. “Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower platelet and leukocyte counts: results from the Moli-sani study.” Blood, 2014.