Med diet prevents major disease
Back in July, Greek researchers working as part of EPIC, the largest study of diet and cancer ever undertaken, showed that the more Mediterranean a person's diet is, the lower the risk of cancer. That's a diet that contains lots of fruit, veg, grains, nuts and fish, along with a splash of olive oil, but is low in red and processed meat, alcohol, dairy and animal fats.
Now an analysis of 12 international studies of diet and disease published in the British Medical Journal has shown that a strict Mediterranean diet can help to reduce deaths from other diseases as well as cancer, including heart disease, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
Collectively, the studies covered more than 1.5 million people, whose diet and health were tracked from three to 18 years. All the studies used a score, to work out how "Mediterranean" a person's diet was. The researchers found that people sticking strictly to a Mediterranean diet had a 9% drop in overall death rate, including a 9% cut in deaths from heart disease, a 13% drop in the incidence of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and a 6% cut in cancer incidence.
The researchers suggest that a tool to help people to "score" their diets might be an effective way to help people cut the risk of these diseases and live longer.