What is the Mediterranean Diet?Jennifer Murray at Suite101 gives us a good rundown of the basics of what the Mediterranean Diet consists of:
- Eating generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices and these foods should make up every meal
- Consuming fish or seafood at least two times per week
- Eating moderate portions of cheese and yogurt daily or weekly
- Consuming poultry and eggs every two days or once per week
- Limiting meats and sweets
- Drinking red wine in moderation
- Choosing healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
- Avoiding processed foods
- Controlling portions
Read more of what Jennifer had to say about what the Mediterranean Diet is over at Suite101.
Study FindingsWhat then specifically can you achieve by adhering to this diet. The researchers found that you can statistically expect:
"a significant improvement in health status, as seen by a significant reduction in overall mortality (9%), mortality from cardiovascular diseases (9%), incidence of or mortality from cancer (6%), and incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (13%). These results seem to be clinically relevant for public health, in particular for encouraging a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern for primary prevention of major chronic diseases."
These finding associated with the Mediterranean Diet suggest correlation with smaller and more specific studies previously noted such as eating fish routinely, avoiding over-eating, drinking red wine, among many others. What the diet doesn’t associate with however are findings such as the benefits of eating Beef (specifically) for the Vaccenic Acid or Omega-7 trans-fats and getting regular sleep and exercise.
My ConclusionHaving said that one could easily assume that poor sleep habits and erratic exercise habits are built into this group of studies as they were not controlled for these factors. If you were to further refine the diet to include regular beef (in moderation), exercise, and good sleep habits the results pointing to increased longevity and decreased mortality would probably be even better than reported.
I am a strong proponent of eating everything and this diet doesn’t discriminate much but I feel Beef is a good food and shouldn’t be left out. Just eat it in moderation like you would (should) anything else.
- British Medical Journal