Study proves the health benefits of Mediterranean nutrition
"You are what you eat," is the popular saying, and even in ancient Chinese wisdom, nutrition is seen as the basis of health. Studies have repeatedly shown that nutrition has a massive impact on health. So also a recently published work of a German nutrition institute, which examined the health benefits of Mediterranean food. With a positive result, as it turned out. According to the scientists, the Mediterranean diet contributes to protection against cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and possibly even cancer.
The new nutritional analysis was carried out by the German Institute for Nutritional Research Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE). According to the researchers, a Mediterranean diet consisting of vegetables, fruit, olive oil, nuts and fish, among other things, can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases such as a heart attack outside the Mediterranean. The results were recently published in the specialist journal "BMC Medicine".
Is the Mediterranean diet equally healthy for everyone?
Until now it was unclear whether a Mediterranean diet would bring health benefits outside of the Mediterranean area. "After all, it is a regional form of nutrition that is shaped socially and culturally by the Mediterranean," explains Professor Matthias Schulze, head of the Molecular Epidemiology Department at DifE in a press release on the study results. In a study, the institute examined whether the positive aspects of the Mediterranean diet were also evident in German subjects despite cultural differences.
In the analysis, the data from around 27,500 people were evaluated. It was also taken into account how closely the subjects adhered to the diet. According to the nutrition experts, relatively strict adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a significantly reduced risk (-20 percent) of developing type 2 diabetes. There was also a lower risk of having a heart attack. In subjects who only partially adhered to the Mediterranean nutritional concept, these benefits could not be determined to the extent.
Mediterranean food has proven itself many times
Other studies have already looked at the positive effects of Mediterranean nutrition. "According to the latest scientific knowledge, the Mediterranean diet protects against cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and cancer," write the DIfE researchers. The Mediterranean diet has long been highly recommended for diabetes. It is also said to promote fertility in assisted pregnancies.
What makes up the Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is strongly influenced by the culture and conditions of the Mediterranean. The following products in particular make up this form of nutrition:
- A lot of vegetables,
- many fruits,
- Olive oil,
- little meat,
- Dairy products,
- moderate alcohol consumption.
From the Mediterranean diet to the Nordic diet?
The DIfE nutrition experts also examined whether the health benefits would also arise if common foods from Northern Europe were used. The “Nordic Diet” includes apples, pears, berries, root vegetables, cabbage, whole grain cereals, rye bread, cereal flakes, fish, dairy products, potatoes and regionally typical vegetable fats. However, the epidemiologists were unable to observe any clear relationships with chronic diseases. "Nevertheless, the results indicate that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop a heart attack," the scientists conclude.
Can these diets prevent cancer?
The researchers were unable to find a clear connection between the Nordic and Mediterranean diets. "Nevertheless, it is possible that the Mediterranean diet and Nordic diet can also lower the risk of cancer within the German population," reports Cecilia Galbete, the first author of the study. In further studies, attention should be paid to individual types of cancer.
A clear nutritional recommendation for everyone
Ultimately, the DIfE experts want to develop clear and easily implementable nutritional recommendations that are universal and cross-cultural in order to counteract common diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, stroke and diabetes. (vb)