Analyzing the data of over 23,000 men and women followed for 8.5 years by European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study, researchers found that mortality dropped with tighter adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
They monitored the relative intakes of alcohol intake, meat and meat products, vegetable, high fruit and nut, monounsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, legumes, cereal and dairy consumption. In my book, that's 8 components, and a statistical 12.5% chance for individual contribution of each element.
Here is how the micro-analysis of individual contribution to the total effect stacked up:
- Moderate alcohol intake: 23.5%
- Low intake of meat and meat products: 16.6%
- High vegetable intake: 16.2%
- High fruit and nut consumption: 11.2%
- High monounsaturated-to-saturated fat intake: 10.6%
- High intake of legumes: 9.7%
- High cereal intake: 6.1%
- Low dairy consumption: 4.5%
INTERSTINGLY, OLIVE OIL did not seem to confer any particular benefit. However, I do advise to use olive oil RAW ( not fried) and in moderation since it is calorie-rich. And don't base the Mediterranean diet on olive oil alone. It is a complete nutrition plan...
Really, these results can be cooked up at any sauce. So, to your saucepans!
- If you eat less meat, you're going to eat more vegetables: add these ingredients to each other, and they now contribute to 32.8% of the benefits.
- Don't like veggies? Fine, eat less meat and replace it with legumes, and you still get a combined effect of 26.3%
- Don't like legumes nor veggies, but would rather eat fruit? That's a combined effect of 27%.
The great advantage of the Mediterranean diet is that is is flexible, allowing for variations in food supply, seasons, taste and religious food restrictions. It's a healthy thing.