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New research has provided further evidence of the heart-healthy benefits of the Mediterranean diet, tying the eating plan to lower levels of platelets and white blood cells - the two markers of inflammation.


Inflammation has an association with greater risk of heart attack and stroke.


The Mediterranean diet, characterized by generous servings of foods such as greens, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, has long been hailed as a heart-healthy eating plan.


While the link between the diet and a reduction in inflammation has been established, the connection between the eating plan and levels of platelets and white blood cells, two specific inflammatory markers in the body, has remained unclear.


Specifically, high platelet counts are associated with both vascular disease and non-vascular conditions such as cancer, and a high white blood cell count is a predictor of ischemic vascular disease.


In order to understand whether a diet rich in healthy compounds might favorably influence platelet and white blood cell levels, investigators conducted an analysis of the eating habits of nearly 15,000 healthy Italian men and women ages 35 or older as part of the large epidemiological "Moli-sani" study, named for the inhabitants of the Molise region of Central and Southern Italy.


"We undertook this study to understand the correlation between consuming a Mediterranean diet and specific health markers, including platelet levels and white blood cell counts, which can more specifically explain the diet's benefits in reducing the long-term risk of cerebral and heart disease or other chronic conditions," lead study author Marialaura Bonaccio, PhD, of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention at the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo NEUROMED in Italy said.


All participants were evaluated at baseline and were considered to be healthy. Total platelet counts and white blood cell counts were measured and participants were grouped according to their levels (low, normal, or high), based on age- and gender-specific cut-offs.


Participants with high platelet levels were younger and had a greater incidence of high cholesterol and increased levels of common inflammation marker C-reactive protein when compared to those in the normal or low platelet categories.


Individuals in the high white blood cell category were mainly younger, male, and smokers, and had a higher body-mass index and higher levels of C-reactive protein and blood glucose than those in the other groups. They also showed higher prevalence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


"Because the study included healthy participants, the lower levels of platelets and white blood cells in those who were more strictly consuming a Mediterranean diet indicate that this eating plan could account for substantial changes within normal ranges of variability. This is an important finding that has implications for how these anti-inflammatory markers are tracked among the general population," Dr. Bonaccio added.


The study is published online in Blood, the Journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).


Source: The Times of India

We have the Greeks to thank for so much of our modern day society. They paved the way for great philosophical minds to keep pushing us forward intellectually. They gave us the Olympic Games, and a desire to strive for athletic excellence. And, well, then there's democracy. Clearly, we owe a lot of who we are to Greece. We're thankful for all of it, but most of all, we're thankful for the feta.

Dieters have been told to eat like cavemen (the Paleo diet), slurp liquefied vegetables (“green smoothies”) and learn to love bread that tastes like sawdust (aka gluten-free).


Fortunately, the pendulum is swinging back toward a more palatable recipe for health: the Mediterranean diet.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 16:26

Meeting the delicacy that is bottarga

PITTSBURGH | Bold indeed was the first person to eat an oyster.


But who was the first person to remove the egg-filled ovaries from a mullet fish, salt them, press them, dry them in the sun, and then eat some of that?

Friday, 07 February 2014 16:36

Royal Jelly and Pollen Made in Greece

In the 5th “Panhellenic Agrotica Conference” Crysoula Tananaki, lecturer at the Department of Agriculture in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Pavlos Bagiatis, chairman of the Beekeeping Association of Thessaloniki, declared that after six years of research the qualitative features of the Greek royal jelly and pollen have finally been determined.


The list of features will be sent to the Ministry of Rural Development and Food of Greece and royal jelly and pollen will receive the Greek designation of origin.

Friday, 07 February 2014 15:26

Feta cheese row sours EU-Canada trade deal

Feta cheese makers and many politicians in Greece feel sour about an EU free trade deal with Canada which they believe threatens the uniqueness of the protected brand.


The status of distinctive European foods is one of the toughest issues in such deals - and the Canada agreement could serve as a model for an even bigger EU trade deal with the US.

Feta is among 145 iconic food and drink names covered by an EU Protected Geographical Indication. The special status prevents other manufacturers in the EU copying the original, traditional product and marketing it like the original.

Thursday, 06 February 2014 17:59

Why to choose extra virgin olive oil

According to data from international scientific organizations, extra virgin olive oil predominates over seed oil, and other animal fats, and also has a beneficial effect on the human body, helping to combat many diseases and especially protecting the heart and the nervous system.

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