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Nutrition for life
Mediterranean health
The results of a health study carried out in Spain point once again to the benefits of following a Mediterranean-style diet.

31.07.2013 -

The director of the Public Health department of Las Palmas University, Lluis Serra Majem, used a visit to the Adeje Summer University to present the recently published results of the Predimed Nutrition study.

The investigation followed 7,500 people over a period of six years.  Participants came from all over Spain, including the Canary Islands, and were divided into three groups of 2,500 each.  The group which followed the Mediterranean diet suffered fewer deaths in the time period, had a significantly lower incidence of diabetes and a 30 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease than, for instance, the group which followed a healthy, but very low fat, diet.

Fats have been maligned for much of the last generation and a lot of the responsibility for this can be laid at the food manufacturers door the boom in diet products has encouraged the public to steer clear of all fats.  However, many of these products are laden with sugar and it is this, says Luis Serra and many other nutritionists, which is the real enemy, particularly in the fight against diabetes.

The Mediterranean diet has long been promoted as a means to a longer and healthier life and is based on a comparatively high intake of olive oil, legumes, fruit, vegetables and unrefined cereals.  A low to moderate consumption of fish is recommended, as well as unadulterated dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt.  Wine in moderation, particularly red wine, is considered beneficial and has been shown to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system, whilst meat and meat products should be kept to a minimum.

Surprisingly, total fat intake would be around 25 to 35 per cent of calories though, importantly, with saturated fat at eight per cent or less.

It is thought that it is the high levels of olive oil that has one of the greatest benefits on health.  Studies suggest it can play a part in reducing coronary heart disease risk and regulating cholesterol levels, as well as having anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive effects.

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