Monday, October 09, 2006

Three, no, FOUR Cheers for the Mediterranean Diet

A collection of studies reported by WebMD and Reuters shed light on the connections between a Mediterranean diet and problems like Alzheimer's and bad cholesterol.

If you're concerned about Alzheimer's, your path to prevention may start with a Mediterranean diet, according to a Columbia University study (
reported by WebMD). The fabled Mediterranean diet is high in fruits, vegetables, grains and nuts, but low in red meat. Most of the fat comes from olive oil and fatty fish. People on this diet had a 40 to 65 percent lower risk of getting Alzheimer's.

Also reported by WebMD, Spanish researchers found walnuts protect arteries from the harmful affects of a high-fat meal. When you eat a rich meal, arteries are temporarily stiffened, or less able to expand in response to exercise. However, a handful of walnuts can keep your arteries flexible.

Another study, by Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Uppsala University Hospital found that omega-3 supplements slowed the mental decline of patients with Alzheimer's. Omega-3 fatty acids are common in olive oil and fish.

From our friends at Reuters,
we also learned today that a Mediterranean diet lowers "bad" LDL cholesterol levels (even in people who are already on statin medications which lower LDL). Apparently, plant stanols, which the Mediterranean diet is rich in, helps "prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol from food," reported Reuters.

The Reuter's report was based on a Dutch study which appears in the October, 2006 edition of The Journal of the American Diabetic Association.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.