729718_greek_salad_1.jpgWhile the Mediterranean Diet has been acknowledged for many years as having many health benefits for those who follow that particular eating plan, until now there has been little or almost no formal study collations. However, all of this changed when the British Medical Journal published the findings from the University of Florence, Italy, in September 2008. The findings of this study were impressive and charted 1.5 million people for up to 18 years. Read on for further information on how the consumption of Mediterranean foods can help in the prevention of cancer, aid in heart disease prevention, and decrease your chances significantly of other serious chronic diseases.

The University of Florence Findings.

The University of Florence compiled data from 12 international studies. As we have mentioned, this involved an impressive 1.5 million people, some of whom were studied for up to 18 years. A grading system was determined according to how strictly the dieters followed the Mediterranean diet plan. Published results dating from as far back as 1966 were included in the study.

These findings were published in the British Medical Journal on September 11, 2008.

Researchers noted that that the more rigidly the traditional Mediterranean eating plan model was followed, the more significant the health benefits.

The researchers found that following a strict Mediterranean diet had the following health benefits:

* 6% reduction in some cancers.

* 13% reduction in both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases.

* 9% decrease in overall death rates.

* 9% reduction in heart disease.

Researchers concluded that many chronic Western health problems could be reduced by the public following a strict version of the Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet.

The Mediterranean Diet is a healthy eating plan that many folk who reside around the Mediterranean have been following for hundreds of years. Although there may be regional differences in the Mediterranean cuisine due to the availability of individual ingredients, the basic premise remains the same. This diet is recognized as being high in naturally occurring antioxidants, omega-3, and monounsaturated fats.

Antioxidants are an important factor in anti-aging, cell repair, and mopping up free radicals. Antioxidants can be found in berries, extra virgin olive oil, and colorful fresh fruits and vegetables. Omega 3’s are important for heart and brain health, reduce triglycerides, and are to be found in fish and walnuts. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive, olive oils, canola and flax seed oils, and are important for reducing LDL blood cholesterol.

No matter what region of the Mediterranean, the basic principles of the diet are:

* a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 7-10 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily is recommended.

* breads are consumed without butter or margarine.

* regular intake of fresh fish, at least once or twice weekly. However, the fish should not be battered or fried. Great example of healthy fish include salmon, tuna, herring and mackerel

* using oils such as extra virgin olive oil instead of animal fats such as lard and butter.

* limited amounts of red wine. (For those who do not have a medical clearance for alcohol, purple grape juice can do the trick.)

* limited intakes of red meat (traditionally between once a week and once a month). Replace red meat with fish or poultry.

* small amounts (a handful daily) of nuts such as almonds, pecans or walnuts.

379797_lazy_lunch.jpg* limited amounts of high fat dairy, such as ice cream, full cream milk, and cheese. Incorporate natural fat free yogurts, skim milks, and low fat cheeses instead.


The University of Florence study has compiled the data of over 1.5 million people from 12 international studies adhering to the Mediterranean eating plan to varying degrees.

Following a traditional and strict Mediterranean Diet can lower a person’s risk of cancer and heart disease. The Mediterranean eating plan can significantly reduce the chances of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, and decrease mortality rates. The study found direct correlation between the positive health benefits and prevention of disease with the traditional Mediterranean Diet. Those who followed the diet more rigidly benefited the most from the prevention of chronic and preventable diseases.

Ray Baker has supplied more articles and a down loadable guide which supplies a good plan and recipes on the ever popular Mediterranean diet. The link opens in a new window so you can always come back here.