A new study about Mediterranean Diet and its beneficial effects is being carried in Australia by Dr Antigoni Kouris-Blazos and Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos both professors at the University of La Trobe. The new study-research is being carried in Melbourne and is focused on elderly people who originated from the Greek islands and particularly from Crete. It was in Crete that the first studies and research about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet took place.
According to Dr Itsiopoulos, most of the people have the impression that Mediterranean diet includes high consumption of olive oil, roasted meat, pasta and bread. In reality, she states, Med Diet is characterized by high consumption of vegetables, beans, legumes, fruits and cereal, average to high consumption of fish and high consumption of olive oil. Also, in the Mediterranean diet we have medium to low consumption of dairy products mainly cheese and yogurt, low consumption of meat and red wine. The superiority of Mediterranean diet, way of life, in relation with the diets of other countries and methods is proven by the numerous studies that have been done by universities all over the world, during the last years.
Dr Antigoni Kouris has organized and taken part in many of these university studies. She stated that during her doctorate studies and in working closely with Professors Antonis Trichopoulos and Professor Mark Wahlqvist, having compared the life of and health of 189 old age Greek in Melbourne with that of 104 old age people in Greece during the period 1989-1992, she concluded that the Melbourne Greeks lived longer because their diet consisted mostly of traditional Greek Mediterranean type of food, mostly legumes. Basically they continued to be fed on the diet they were used to when they first came to Australia.
The doctorate work was part of a wider research/study which concentrated on the dietary habits of people at their old age. The research included various ethnic groups of old age people from Sweden, Japan, Britain, all of whom migrated and were living in Australia. Dr Kouris was the coordinator of the study in which 800 people participated.
The first study showed that the Mediterranean diet, and way of living, improves the average age of old people since the Greek old age immigrants had the highest average of all the ethnic groups. The study also showed the benefits of the Med diet that lead to longevity and that these benefits can be acquired by non Mediterranean people once they follow the Mediterranean diet. There are more than 30 variations of the Mediterranean cuisine and diet due to the great number of countries and cultures that thrived in the Mediterranean region.
The traditional Cretan diet is considered by most scientific circles, and the nutritional community, as the oldest and most basic Mediterranean diet. It should be noted that in a research done in the 60s it was proven that the Cretans, due to factors attributed to their diet, had the least number of deaths due to heat diseases and heart attacks when compared to people from other countries.
In conclusion, Mediterranean diet is a proven way of life that in general leads to a healthy long life.