The Anticancer diet is very similar to the Mediterranean diet. A new meta-analysis has shown that this diet is effective, not just in slowing the growth of tumors, but also to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Since the work of Dr. Michel de Lorgeril and Dr. Renaud was published in the Lancet in the early 1990s, the Mediterranean diet has been known to be effective against cardiovascular illness. Since then, it has also demonstrated that it improves most of the indicators of health that are measured at regular intervals by every good general practitioner or specialist in internal medicine, including weight; waist size; blood pressure; cholesterol; triglycerides, and indicators of systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein, IL-6 etc). No drug on earth can simultaneously improve all these parameters – but the abundant diet of the Mediterranean region can.

A new meta-analysis by the University of Florence has just been published in the British Medical Journal (September 2008). It shows that this diet is also effective against cancer, and even more effective in the prevention of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

In the past twenty years, conventional medicine has come to accept the idea that we can act on heart disease using nutrition and physical activity (along with the cessation of all use of tobacco, of course). This hasn’t been easy, and we’re still at the beginning of the process of awareness regarding cancer, and other degenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Nonetheless, it’s reassuring to see studies like this published in the world’s major scientific journals, indicating that simple measures which all of us can practice in our own lives can have such major impact on every aspect of our health.

Reminder of the basics of the Mediterranean diet:

- Rapeseed and olive oils only - Poultry or fish five times a week (little or no red meat; if eaten, only meat from grass-fed animals) - especially mackerel, sardines, anchovies, herrings and salmon - Eggs, dairy products rich in omega3s - Vegetables or salads at every lunch and dinner - Fruit every day - Nuts and herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, mint, marjoram, sage etc) - Legumes, rice, whole-grain and mixed cereals - Yogurt and goat’s cheese rather than cheese made from cow’s milk.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Esposito K, Marfella R, Ciotola M, et al. Effect of a Mediterranean-Style Diet on Endothelial Dysfunction and Markers of Vascular Inflammation in the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial. JAMA 2004;292(12):1440-6. 2. Sofi F. Adherence to Mediterranean diet and health status: meta-analysis. British Medical Journal 2008.