Tuesday October 16, 2018

Mediterranean Diet Works for the Rich and Educated, Says Study

The study has shown that the decline in cardiovascular risk is seen only in people with higher educational level and/or greater household income

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Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean Diet. Pixabay
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New Delhi, Aug 11, 2017: A recent study conducted by conducted by a team of researchers at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention led by Giovanni de Gaetano, found out that the Mediterranean diet including vegetables, nuts, fruits and whole grains, in addition to fish and poultry, does not benefit everyone.

The study suggests people with higher incomes or more education, or a blend of the two, encounter the cardiovascular advantages associated with the diet, mentioned ANI report.

The study reveals that benefits are strongly influenced by the socioeconomic position of people.

Alternatively, the study has shown that the decline in cardiovascular risk is seen only in people with higher educational level and/or greater household income. No substantive benefits were observed for the less advantaged groups.

Marialaura Bonaccio, a researcher at the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and first author of the study says, “The cardiovascular benefits associated with the Mediterranean diet in a general population are well known.”

She further adds, “Yet for the first time our study has revealed that the socioeconomic position is able to modulate the health advantages linked to Mediterranean diet. In other words, a person from low socioeconomic status who struggles to follow a Mediterranean model is unlikely to get the same advantages of a person with higher income, despite the fact that they both similarly adhere to the same healthy diet”.

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Neuromed researchers went further and tried to resolve the possible mechanisms holding such differences.

Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of nutritional and molecular Epidemiology at the Department explains, “Given a comparable adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the most advantaged groups were more likely to report a larger number of indices of high-quality diet as opposed to people with low socioeconomic status.”

“For example, within those reporting an optimal adherence to the Mediterranean diet (as measured by a score comprising fruits and nuts, vegetables, legumescerealsfishfatsmeat, dairy products and alcohol intake) people with high income or higher educational level consumed products richer in antioxidants and polyphenols, and had a greater diversity in fruit and vegetable choices.” She also stated, “We have also found a socioeconomic gradient in the consumption of whole-grain products and in the preferred cooking methods. These substantial differences in consuming products belonging to Mediterranean diet lead us to think that quality of foods may be as important for health as quantity and frequency of intake”.

Giovanni de Gaetano, director of the Department comments, “Our results should promote a serious consideration of socioeconomic scenario of health.”

Socioeconomic inequalities in health are scaling in accessibility to healthy diets as well. Gaetano concluded, “during the very last years, we documented a rapid shifting from the Mediterranean diet in the whole population, but it might also be that the weakest citizens tend to buy Mediterranean food with lower nutritional value. We cannot be keeping on say that the Mediterranean diet is good for health. if we are not able to guarantee an equal access to it”.

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Consuming Mediterranean Diet Prevents Risk of Age-related Blindness

The entire pattern of eating a nutrient-rich diet, instead of individual food varieties such as fish, fruits and vegetables, helps significantly curb the risk of late AMD, the researchers noted

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Mediterranean Food, (representational Image) Wikimedia

Consuming a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes, olive oil, seeds, fish, low saturated fat, dairy products and red meat can help prevent potential blindness in later stages of life, a study has found.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative eye disease and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older.

It causes loss of central vision, which is crucial for simple everyday activities, such as the ability to see faces, drive, read, and write.

In analysing the connection between genes and lifestyle on the development of AMD, researchers from the European Union found that people who adhered to a Mediterranean diet cut their risk of late-stage AMD by 41 per cent.

The findings, published in the journal Ophthalmology, expands on previous studies and suggests that such a diet is beneficial for everyone, whether you already have the disease or are at risk of developing it.

Mediterranean Diet
Mediterranean Diet. Pixabay

“I believe this is a public health issue on the same scale as smoking. Chronic diseases such as AMD, dementia, obesity, and diabetes, all have roots in poor dietary habits. It’s time to take quitting a poor diet as seriously as quitting smoking,” said Emily Chew, a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Previous research has linked Mediterranean diet to a longer lifespan and a reduced incidence of heart disease and cognitive decline.

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For the new study, the team analysed food-frequency questionnaires from nearly 5,000 people who participated in two investigations focused separately on disease risks in people aged 55 and older and the links between eye diseases and nutritional factors in people aged 73 and older.

The entire pattern of eating a nutrient-rich diet, instead of individual food varieties such as fish, fruits and vegetables, helps significantly curb the risk of late AMD, the researchers noted. (IANS)