On the radio today, I heard a discussion regarding the Mediterranean Diet. Another study supports the health benefits of consuming plant based foods, fish and olive oil, and an occasional glass of wine. The study that was highlighted today was not an experiment but an observation made after comparing two large groups of persons of later age. One group ate more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and used olive oil while another ate foods considered to be Western - a lot of meat and fried foods. The first group had a significant and substantially lower rate of dementia than the second.
Science has already suggested that the Mediterranean Diet is protective for the heart. It is expected that the diet helps to reduce inflammation or just creates less inflammation. It also seems that people who eat this way have lower weights.
One person interviewed today said that at this time we don't know if it is something particular in one or more of the foods eaten that is helpful or if the combination of the foods is helpful - or even that the persons are thinner and have less cases of diabetes (diabetes is a risk factor for impaired blood flow which effects the heart and brain).
For instance, it could be the antioxidants in the fruits and vegetables, or the PUFA in the fish or the fiber that reduces bad cholesterol or even the resveratrol in the red wine, that promote better health.
I do want to make this one point to be safe. When our health experts suggest that we eat more fruits ,vegetables, fish, and get more monounsaturated fats, they do not mean ON TOP OFF or IN ADDITION TO the red meats and sugars and other fats that we consume, they mean in PLACE OF.
And if it matters to you, if it's the fish, fiber, fruits or wine - stay tuned because they will figure it out. However, your heart and brain will thank you if you just go ahead and make the recommended amendments to your "diet" today.