Mediterranean Diet = Healthy Lifestyle
This is my lifestyle and it’s easy! It’s really a lifestyle not a diet, adding more fresh fruits and veggies to your day and reap the benefits.
The evidence keeps piling up: The Mediterranean diet helps prevent disease. Studies have repeatedly concluded that people who follow a classic Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop stroke or heart attack than people who do not eat this healthful diet. It’s also been linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Consumption of extra virgin olive oil, which is the chief source of fat in the diet, has also been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Now, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), you can add peripheral artery disease to the list of serious diseases the Mediterranean diet protects against.
Much of what we know about the benefits of this diet is based on so-called epidemiological studies. These sorts of studies look at large groups of people and use statistics to infer relationships among various factors and outcomes. They’re helpful in identifying possible behaviors that may be healthful, for example. But they’re not the gold standard, because they don’t allow scientists to make direct conclusions about causation. For that, it’s helpful to have a randomized study. That’s a more rigorous type of study that directly compares the effects of doing something, or not doing it, in similar groups of people.
In this instance, people in Europe were randomly assigned to eat one of three different types of diets. One consisted of a classic Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil. The second consisted of a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts. A third involved counseling about following a low-fat diet.
After about five years, participants were assessed for peripheral arterial disease--a form of hardening of the arteries that usually causes pain and numbness in the legs due to poor blood flow. People following either form of the Mediterranean diet were significantly less likely to have developed the disease than people in the third, generic low-fat diet group. The Mediterranean diet features lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil and nuts, and little red meat. It’s one of the most-studied, most-healthful diets known to man.
Miguel Ruiz-Canela, Ramón Estruch, Dolores Corella, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Miguel A. Martínez-González. Association of Mediterranean Diet With Peripheral Artery Disease. JAMA, 2014; 311 (4): 415 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.280618