If you’re concerned about how your diet is affecting your risk of disease, science may have your solution. New research has shown that sticking to a Mediterranean Diet helps prevent conditions such as cancer and heart disease. While it has long been suggested that a Mediterranean Diet could help improve your health, a study by the Minneapolis VA Medical Center has offered new evidence. Even this high fat diet could decrease your risk of heart attack and stroke.
What is a Mediterranean Diet?
The term “Mediterranean Diet” refers to the typical foods eaten by the people who live near the Mediterranean sea. Though many diverse people live in this region, their diets share many similarities.
Mediterranean diets tend to be very high in fats. They include many nuts, beans, grain, and potatoes. Olive oil is also used heavily in the cooking from this region. People from the Mediterranean region eat a good deal of fish and poultry, but very little red meat. Finally, while Mediterranean people eat many dairy products, they consume only a few eggs.
New Research Suggests Disease Prevention
In a study published July 19th, 2016, researchers from the Minneapolis VA concluded that a Mediterranean Diet with no limit on fat consumption helped prevent diseases. Research found that the diet lowered the risk for cardiovascular events, breast cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
To reach its conclusion, the study followed eaters of a Mediterranean Diet for 1 year. It used research that dated from 1990 through April 2016. Researchers analyzed each person’s risk for several diseases. They found that people who ate a Mediterranean Diet were less likely to have heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and breast cancer than the general population.
The answer as to why this high-fat diet helps prevent disease lies in the type of fats it contains. Typical American diets are very high in saturated fats, which are not good for heart health. However, Mediterranean cooking tends to use a lot of olive oil, which is a monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are very healthy, and many studies have shown that eating them regularly has many benefits.
The Mediterranean Diet is also extremely low in red meat. Red meat has been known to cause cardiovascular problems, so if you are at risk for heart disease, sticking to a Mediterranean Diet might be a good idea.
While the results of this study were somewhat inconclusive, they back up lots of research that a Mediterranean Diet is good for disease prevention. If you are at risk for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, or heart disease, it might be time to break out the olive oil!