06 May 2006

Eat Right, Perhaps Stay Healthy... Shocking!

From CNN.com, emphasis mine:

A Mediterranean-style diet that appears to cut the risk of heart disease also may help protect against Alzheimer's disease, a new study suggests.

People who followed the diet were up to 40 percent less likely than those who largely avoided it to develop Alzheimer's during the course of the research, scientists reported.


The diet he tested includes eating lots of vegetables, legumes, fruits, cereals and fish, while limiting intake of meat and dairy products, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol and emphasizing monounsaturated fats, such as in olive oil, over saturated fats. Previous research has suggested that such an approach can reduce the risk of heart disease.


The idea that a heart-healthy diet could also help fight Alzheimer's fits in with growing evidence that "the kinds of things we associate with being bad for our heart turn out to be bad for our brain," said Dr. Marilyn Albert, a Johns Hopkins neurology professor and spokeswoman for the Alzheimer's Association. The list includes high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and uncontrolled diabetes, she said.

As I understand it, a food science revolution occurred back in the early-middle part of the 1900's (or whenever it was, I welcome corrections on this) where scientists decided that purifying the known beneficial compounds (starch, vitamins, etc.) and making foods containing only those compounds. While this seemed to make good sense at the time, it seems that whole, unprocessed foods are inevitably better for you than refined ones. Thus, even if one doesn't eat outright unhealthy foods like donuts and fries all the time, avoiding vegetables, fruits, and whole grains likely results in deficiencies in a variety of important compounds, many of which we probably don't even know about yet. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," indeed.

Just something to 'ruminate' on, as it were... ;-)

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