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New Study Underscores Mediterranean Diet Benefits

June 26, 2003|From Reuters

BOSTON — A study of more than 22,000 Greeks provided further evidence Wednesday that a Mediterranean diet rich in cheese, nuts and olive oil can protect against heart disease and cancer.

The study found that people who ate a Mediterranean diet had a 33% lower risk of death from heart disease and a 24% lower cancer death rate compared to volunteers who ate other foods.

Vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, unrefined cereals, olive oil, cheese and yogurt are eaten most days, as is fish. Wine is consumed in moderation.

The diet often includes limited servings of meat, eggs and sweets.

Although olive oil is widely credited with many of the benefits of the diet, the research team, led by Antonia Trichopoulou of the University of Athens Medical School, found that no specific food in the diet appeared to be responsible for the improvement in health.

"Individual components may have small effects that emerge only when the components are integrated into a simple, unidimensional score," the researchers said.

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