April 2017

Research highlights from non-profit Oldways, co-creators of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid and advocates of Health through Heritage.

1. Eating Fruit Linked With Less Diabetes Risk & Fewer Diabetes Complications

Fresh fruit is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Although fruit has naturally occurring sugars, research continually demonstrates that fruit is healthy, even for people with diabetes. In a large study of nearly half a million adults in China, researchers found that those eating fresh fruit daily were 12% less likely to develop diabetes over the 7-year study than those who rarely or never ate fresh fruit. Additionally, adults who had diabetes at the beginning of the study were 17% less likely to die over the study period, and were 13-28% less likely to have blood vessel complications.  

PLoS Medicine. 2017 Apr 11;14(4):e1002279. (Du H et al.)

2. Moderate Alcohol Intake Linked With Lower Risk Of Heart Disease

The Mediterranean diet includes moderate wine drinking. To see how drinking alcohol relates to heart disease risk, British researchers analyzed the drinking habits and health outcomes of nearly 2 million adults (although they did not dierentiate between beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages). They found that, compared to moderate drinking, both nondrinkers and heavy drinkers were significantly more likely to suer from heart failure, stroke, and death from heart disease, among other (but not all) heart problems. The scientists caution that “there are safer and more eective ways of reducing cardiovascular risk,” than taking up drinking (such as diet, exercise, and quitting smoking), and suggest that “a more nuanced approach to the role of alcohol in prevention of cardiovascular disease is necessary.”

BMJ. 2017 Mar 22;356:j909. (Bell S et al.)

3. Med Diet Linked With Better Sperm Quality

To see what types of foods are associated with better male fertility and healthy sperm quality, researchers analyzed data on eating patterns and male fertility in 35 observational studies from around the world. They found that a healthy diet (e.g. a Mediterranean diet) with lots of seafood, poultry, vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy, and grains is associated with better sperm quality. They also found that in some studies, processed meat, soy foods,  potatoes, full fat dairy, coee, alcohol, sugary drinks, and sweets were linked with poor sperm quality and male infertility.

Human Reproduction Update. 2017 Mar 10:1-19. (Salas-Huetos A et al.)

4. Med Diet Linked With Up To 40% Lower Risk Of Breast Cancer 

About of breast cancer cases are hormone-receptor-negative, meaning that they are unlikely to respond to hormonal therapy. To see if diet relates to breast cancer risk, researchers analyzed the eating habits and health outcomes of more than 62,500 post-menopausal Dutch women for about 20 years. Those most closely following a Mediterranean diet were 40% less likely to develop estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer, although overall breast cancer risk and the risk for other types of breast cancer were not significantly lower. 

International Journal of Cancer. 2017 Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print] (van den Brandt PA).

This month-long promotional campaign, created in 2009 by the Oldways Mediterranean Foods Alliance, generates awareness of the delicious foods and wide-ranging health benefits associated with the Mediterranean Diet and its vibrant lifestyle through special media outreach and interviews, supermarket samplings, resources for health professionals and educators, and social networking with the hashtag #MedDietMonth.

Kick Off Your Celebration with our Mediterranean Diet Bundle for Health Professionals!

Save 20% when you buy our most popular resources for health professionals - our 4-Week Mediterranean Diet Menu Plan, Mediterranean Diet Pyramid Tear-Pad, and Welcome to the Mediterranean Diet Trifold Brochure bundle - together! 

The Mediterranean Research Digest is Oldways' monthly summary of recent research on the Mediterranean diet and its components for advising your patients about healthier eating. Read our full collection of health studies on our website: 
Let the old ways be your guide to good health and well-being. Subscribe to our other newsletters here.