Researchers have developed a new version of Mediterranean diet that includes meat to cater to Western tastes and also deliver health benefits.
A typical Mediterranean diet includes extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrain breads, pastas and cereals, moderate amount of fish and red wine, and low consumption of red meat, sweet and processed foods.
The new version of the Mediterranean diet includes 2-3 serves (250g) of fresh lean pork each week.
The findings published in the journal Nutrients showed that the Mediterranean-Pork (Med-Pork) diet delivers cognitive benefits.
“The Mediterranean diet is widely accepted as the healthiest diet and is renowned for delivering improved cardiovascular and cognitive health, but in Western cultures, the red meat restrictions of the diet could make it hard for people to stick to,” said Alexandra Wade from University of South Australia.
“By adding pork to the Mediterranean diet, we’re broadening the appeal of the diet, while also delivering improved cognitive function,” Wade said.
This study compared the cognitive effects of people aged 45-80 years and at risk of cardiovascular disease following a Med-Pork or a low-fat diet (often prescribed to negate risk factors for cardiovascular disease).
The results showed the Med-Pork intervention outperformed the low-fat diet, delivering higher cognitive processing speeds and emotional functioning, both markers of good mental health.
“Improving people’s processing speed shows the brain is working well,” Wade said.
“Then, when you add the fact that pork production emits only a fraction of the greenhouse gases compared with beef, and the Med-Pork diet is really ticking all boxes — taste, health and environment,” Wade said. (IANS)
Good news for tea lovers! Researchers have found that drinking tea at least three times a week is linked with a longer and healthier life.
“Habitual tea consumption is associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause death,” said study first author Xinyan Wang, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing in China.
“The favourable health effects are the most robust for green tea and for long-term habitual tea drinkers,” Wang added.
The analysis, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, included 1,00,902 participants of the China-PAR project2 with no history of heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
Participants were classified into two groups: habitual tea drinkers (three or more times a week) and never or non-habitual tea drinkers (less than three times a week) and followed-up for a median of 7.3 years.
Habitual tea consumption was associated with more healthy years of life and longer life expectancy.
For example, the analyses estimated that 50-year-old habitual tea drinkers would develop coronary heart disease and stroke 1.41 years later and live 1.26 years longer than those who never or seldom drank tea.
Compared with never or non-habitual tea drinkers, habitual tea consumers had a 20 per cent lower risk of incident heart disease and stroke, 22 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 15 per cent decreased risk of all-cause death.
The potential influence of changes in tea drinking behaviour were analysed in a subset of 14,081 participants with assessments at two time points.
The average duration between the two surveys was 8.2 years, and the median follow-up after the second survey was 5.3 years.
Habitual tea drinkers who maintained their habit in both surveys had a 39 per cent lower risk of incident heart disease and stroke, 56 per cent lower risk of fatal heart disease and stroke, and 29 per cent decreased risk of all-cause death compared to consistent never or non-habitual tea drinkers.
“The protective effects of tea were most pronounced among the consistent habitual tea drinking group. Mechanism studies have suggested that the main bioactive compounds in tea, namely polyphenols, are not stored in the body long-term,” said study senior author Dongfeng Gu.
“Thus, frequent tea intake over an extended period may be necessary for the cardioprotective effect,” Gu added.
In a sub-analysis by type of tea, drinking green tea was linked with approximately 25 per cent lower risks for incident heart disease and stroke, fatal heart disease and stroke, and all-cause death.
However, no significant associations were observed for black tea, the study said.
According to the researchers, two factors may be at play. First, green tea is a rich source of polyphenols which protect against cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, including high blood pressure and dyslipidaemia.