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Open Access Mediterranean diet, traditional foods, and health: Evidence from the Greek EPIC cohort

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Background. For more than 50 years, the traditional Mediterranean diet has been considered health- promoting, but it was not until the mid-1990s that the topic began to receive increased scrutiny and prominence.

Objective. To highlight the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet as documented by studies undertaken mostly within a large countrywide general population cohort in Greece.

Methods. The Greek EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer) cohort, a prospective study based on volunteers from the general population of Greece, and other investigations with converging objectives. In the Greek EPIC cohort of more than 28,000 volunteers being followed for more than 10 years, several findings on the association of diet with chronic diseases have been published in the international scientific literature.

Results. The traditional Mediterranean diet of Greece is associated with reduced total mortality as well as reduced mortality from coronary heart disease and cancer. It is applicable in other Western populations, where it has also been shown to be inversely related to total mortality. Moreover, the traditional Mediterranean diet may be optimal for patients who have suffered a coronary infarct, and it does not promote obesity. Tra- ditional foods are integral components of the Mediter- ranean diet and may contribute to its health-promoting attributes.

Conclusions. The traditional Mediterranean diet may be an optimal diet both for healthy people and for patients with coronary heart disease and other chronic conditions.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2007

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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