Updated Oct. 30, 2008 – A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and grains can avert disease such as diabetes, strokes and obesiety, new research shows.
The traditional Mediterranean diet provides substantial protection against type 2 diabetes, according to a study published on British Medical Journal website.
The Mediterreanean diet is rich in olive oil, grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and fish, but low in meat, dairy products and alcohol. Current evidence suggests that such a diet has a protective role in cardiovascular disease, but little is known about its role on the risk of developing diabetes in healthy populations.
Such a diet could also be of particular interest to African Americans, who get diabetes twice as often as Whites and have trouble maintaining a healthy blood sugar level..
The Mediterranean diet study involved over 13 000 graduates from the University of Navarra in Spain with no history of diabetes, whose diet and lifestyle were tracked over a number of years. During the follow-up period (median 4.4 years) the researchers from the University of Navarra found that participants who stuck closely to the diet had a lower risk of diabetes.
A high adherence to the diet was associated with an 83 percent relative reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.
The major protective characteristics of the diet include a high intake of fibre and vegetable fat, a low intake of trans fatty acids, and a moderate intake of alcohol. In addition, a key element of the diet is the abundant use of virgin oil for cooking, frying, spreading on bread, and dressing salads.
But, furites and vegetables overall have proven to have healing and disease fighting properties. And you can tell their disease-fighting qualitites by their color.
Yellows and Oranges: Fruits: oranges, grapefruit, peaches, cantaloupe, mangoes, pineapple. Veggies: squash, carrots and corn.
- The Health Benefit: These fruits and veggies can help to boost your immune system and help to prevent eye disease. Incorporate them into your diet by tossing a few chunks of pineapple on some cottage cheese for a snack and try adding a side of corn to your dinner menu.
Reds Fruits: watermelon, strawberries, raspberries, cherries. Veggies: tomatoes, radishes
- The Health Benefit: These summertime favorites can help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as well as improve blood flow to the heart. Try any of these summer fruits for an afternoon snack. For dinner, try spicing up your salad with a handful of radishes.
Whites: Fruits: pears, bananas. Veggies: mushrooms, cauliflower, onions, garlic
- The Health Benefits: These fruits and veggies can actually lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Slice up a banana and toss it into your morning cereal. For dinner, experiment with a stir-fry packed with mushrooms, onions and garlic.
Greens: Fruits: kiwi, honeydew. Veggies: spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, cabbage
- The Health Benefit: Not only do green fruits and veggies help to protect bones, but they also look after your teeth and eyesight as well. Slice up a honeydew for an afternoon snack and remember to incorporate any of these veggies into your daily salad.
Blues and Purples: Fruits: blueberries, blackberries, purple grapes, plums. Veggies: eggplant
- The Health Benefit: These tasty treats help to keep the memory sharp, while also reducing the risk of many types of cancer. Any of these fruits make a great snack, and eggplant can be incorporated into a number of delicious meals, including eggplant parmesan.
Parts of this article were provided courtesy of BlackDoctor.org, the World’s largest and most comprehensive online health resource specifically targeted to African Americans. For more on the helath benefits of foods and other issues of Black health, visit BlackDoctor.org.