The Daily Parker

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Pass the falafel

National Geographic feasts on the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet:

People in Greece, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries consume diets that are rich in predominantly plant-based foods. The core foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil. Moderate amounts of lean proteins (such as fish, seafood, and poultry) are encouraged, as are eggs, dairy products such as yogurt, and wine (red wine, in particular, with meals). By contrast, red meats and sweets are meant to be consumed less often. Over time, this healthy eating pattern came to be known as the Mediterranean diet.

“Certain nutrients found in these foods, such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, have protective effects on brain cells,” explains Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist and director of the Weill Cornell Medicine Alzheimer’s Prevention Program“Research suggests that adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with greater brain volume and a reduced rate of brain atrophy, which are markers of healthier brain aging.” And recent studies show that by simultaneously targeting multiple mechanisms, the Mediterranean diet can prevent cell death and restore function to damaged neurons.

“It has also been associated with decreased recurrence among cancer survivors,” says Nathan Berger, a professor of medicine, biochemistry, oncology, and genetics, at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland. “While it’s never too late to implement a healthy lifestyle, the benefits of the Mediterranean diet have classically been associated with its lifelong practice.”

Now I'm hungry. Naf Naf Grill tomorrow for lunch? Yes, I think.

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