Stroke prevention with the Mediterranean diet

Fad diets abound, but none appear to be as positively impactful to health as the Mediterranean diet. Even the likes of Jennifer Garner, Elizbath Hurley, and Catherine Zeta-Jones adhere it, and they are all very attractive. Although it won't help increase attractiveness, it may contribute to preventing strokes.

The diet consists of eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. The health benefits of eating such foods were confirmed in an epidemiological and longitudinal study known as the as the Seven Countries Study, which began in 1956 and was finally published in 1970. Ancel Keys, a biologist and director of the study, publicized the diet in 1975, but it didn't gain recognition until the 1990's.

In a recent review paper by Lakkur and Judd (2015), published in the journal Stroke, the authors looked at the different components of the popular diet and examined which foods were found to be truly effective for preventing strokes. After reviewing the research literature, they saw that consuming fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil, and white meat were proven to be effective while eating tree nuts/peanuts, legumes, dairy, red/processed meat, and wine were not. The diet studies referenced in the review paper were published between 2011 to 2014, so we can assume that the studies were conducted somewhat recently (although one may be surprised how long of a lapse can take place between study-end and publication).

However, there are a few limitations that Lakkur and Judd point out regarding their write-up. The first limitation is that they could not account for the possibility that subjects who "choose to adhere to healthier dietary patterns may also engage in other health-promoting behaviors such as physical activity and may be more likely to maintain a healthy weight". Secondly, the types of strokes (hemorrhagic or ischemic) were not described in many of these studies. Lastly,  "there was a lack of racial and ethnic diversity in many of the epidemiological studies and many racial and ethnic minorities were not well represented", much like the aforementioned case of my "attractive actors only" reference pool.

Nonetheless, this paper makes a compelling point that eating like the Greeks, Italians, and Spaniards will help stave off having a stroke. What's even better is that you don't have to be gassy or drunk while doing it.

References:

Lakkur S, & Judd SE (2015). Diet and Stroke: Recent Evidence Supporting a Mediterranean-Style Diet and Food in the Primary Prevention of Stroke. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation PMID: 25967574

Original image taken from http://bodyplan.altervista.org/weightloss/jennifer/

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