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Why is the Mediterranean diet so good?

01·03·13

The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ is based aroundthe traditional food, drink and lifestyles of people living in Greece, Southern Italy, Crete and Spain.This style of eating has gained recognition for producingpostitivehealth effects in people who follow it, and decreasing mortality rates in those areas (1)(2).

Principles include (3)

  • High use of extra virgin olive oil; often uncooked.
  • High intake of vegetables, fruits and legumes.
  • Regular consumption of oily fish.
  • Use of non-refined carbohydrates.
  • Moderate intake of cheese and yoghurt, often goat’s milk.
  • Moderate consumption of eggs.
  • Moderate consumption of raw nuts.
  • Small intake of red meat and natural saturated fat (non-hydrogenated).
  • Small intake of wine, usually red and with main meals.
  • Regular physical activity.

Studies have shown that followers of the Mediterranean Diet experience decreased instances of metabolic syndrome (4), a lower risk of diabetes (5) and reduced incidence of childhood asthma and rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages). (6).

Scientifically proven!

Research has also found that those who eat a Mediterranean diet may have a significant reduction in incidence of degenerative diseases. The results of some studies were so encouraging that authors were encouraging the diet as a primaryintervention for prevention of major chronic diseases. (7)

So what is it that makes it so healthy?

Olive oil is a key ingredient of the diet, and is rich in polyphenolic compounds(8). Phenolic compounds are potent free-radical scavengers.

Olive Leaf Australia’s Fresh Picked Olive Leaf Extract was identified to contain up to 40 times more polyphenols than extra-virgin olive oil. (12)

  1. Arch Intern Med 167 (22): 2461–8.
  2. JAMA, Sep 22;292(12):1433-9.
  3. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 61, No 6, pp: 1402S–6S.
  4. Diabetes Care, Vol. 30, No. 11, Nov, pp. 2957-2959.
  5. BMJ published online 29 May doi:10.1136/bmj.39561.501007.BE
  6. Allergy, Vol 63, pp:1310-1316.
  7. BMJ published online doi:10.1136/bmj.a1344;337;a1344.
  8. Nutr Rev, Vol. 60, No. 6, pp: 170-176.
  9. Lancet Oncology, Vol. 1, pp: 107-112.
  10. Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 40, pp: 501-508.
  11. Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 134, pp: 2314-2321.
  12. Food Chemistry, Vol. 68, No. 4, pp: 457-462.

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