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Dieting can be extremely difficult, especially for those of us who enjoy tasty foods but want to eat better. Thankfully, the Mediterranean diet, consisting of foods from more than 20 countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, is filled with delicious food options that are quite good for people as well — especially women.
There are plenty of health benefits for women when it comes to the Mediterranean diet. In fact, recent studies show that elderly adults who incorporate Mediterranean foods into their diet can reduce their risk of dementia. In a group of 923 seniors, those who followed the diet strictly lowered their risk by 53%, while those who followed the diet moderately decreased their risk by 35%. Also, the International Journal of Cancer published a study suggesting that regular consumption of Mediterranean foods reduced post-menopausal estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer by 40%.
Perhaps the main health benefits of this diet, however, is its ability to protect people from type 2 diabetes, improve glycemic control, and reduce stroke risks, particularly among women.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, eating the fruits, veggies, nuts, and lean meats associated with the Mediterranean diet can help women over 40 significantly reduce their chance of stroke.
The study, published in the journal Stroke, enrolled more than 20,000 adults between the ages of 40 and 77. Each participant was asked to record what they ate over a seven-day period. Researchers then compared their diet and stroke risk over 17 years. Those who adhered to the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of stroke compared to other participants. Overall, the stroke risk was lowered by 17% for Mediterranean dieters, but the benefit was much larger for women — 22% compared to only 6% for men.
“Our study shows that following a Mediterranean-style diet is important for preventing stroke in people at both high and low risk,” said Ailsa A. Welch, PhD, professor of nutritional epidemiology n the department of public health and primary care at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, U.K. “As prevention is important, clinicians can encourage their patients to follow a healthy eating pattern starting at any age.”
What is your favorite “Mediterranean-style” recipe?