This week, we focus on what the Mediterranean diet is and the evidence behind some of its benefits.
The 'true' form of the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is very different from what we know of it today. The classical form of a MedDiet is a whole- foods plant based diet rich in MUFAs and PUFAs, legumes, beans and wholegrains with moderate consumption of red wine with little saturated fat.
(The Australian Guidelines recommend no more than 4 standard drinks / day, capped at 10 standard drinks / week)
The food pyramid below gives us a general overview on the diet:
Other studies, including the Lyons Diet Heart Study, looked at the protective effect of the MedDiet which demonstrated protective heart effects of the diet such as a 73% relative risk reduction for fatal and non-fatal heart attacks , 70% relative risk reduction for overall cause mortality , and significant risk reductions in developing clots in the lungs and legs.
The Predimed Study was another study showing a possible link between high consumption Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and risk of breast cancer reduction. Both olive oil polyphenols and Oleuropin have been implicated in this.
Other potential benefits that have been investigated and demonstrated through various studies include: