Eating Like They Do In The Mediterranean Is Good For Your Heart

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Image: NASA

The Mediterranean Sea neighbours three continents: Europe, Africa, and Asia. Image: NASA

Eat like they do in the Mediterranean and you’ll live to a ripe, old age. Or at least a little longer than you might otherwise have done.

A new study has found that people who eat a Mediterranean diet are less likely to suffer heart-related problems like a heart attack or a stroke.

The Mediterranean region comprises the 18 countries, plus Portugal, that border the Mediterranean Sea. It includes Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Egypt, Israel and Turkey.

People there eat lots of extra-virgin olive oil and nuts as well as fruit, fish, chicken, wine, beans and salads. They tend not to eat a lot of baked goods or pastries.

For about five years, researchers compared the health of 7,500 people in Spain who ate two different types of Mediterranean diets with people who simply ate a low-fat diet.

Researchers found that the people eating a Mediterranean diet were 30 per cent less likely to have a heart problem.

The results of the test were so astonishing, in fact, that the researchers stopped the test early and told the low-fat eaters to switch to a Mediterranean diet. They felt that it would be unfair to the non-Mediterranean eaters to continue the test when the results were so clear.

The people studied were part of one of three groups: those who ate a Mediterranean diet plus four tablespoons per day of extra-virgin olive oil; those who ate Mediterranean plus a handful of walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds each day; and people who at a low-fat diet including bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, fruits, vegetables and fish (and little red meat, nuts, oils or baked goods).

The study was paid for by the Spanish government. Food, including olive oil and nuts, was supplied by walnut producers in Spain and by the California Walnut Commission. The researchers say the sponsors did not create the study or do any analysis.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
How does the geography of a country influence the food its people eat? Consider the places you’ve travelled to, and the food you’ve eaten there, when answering.

Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
Most news article begin with an important fact. Today’s article on TKN does that too. However, the second sentence does something that not all articles do. Reread the second sentence of today’s story and think about how it is different than the first. How does it help communicate the style of the author. Why do you think the author chose to write in this style?

Primary
Identify some elements of style, including voice, word choice, and different types of sentences, and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Junior
Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Intermediate
Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).

Grammar Feature: Compound Modifiers
Hyphens ( – ) are punctuation marks that are used to do many different things. One of the ways that they are used is in compound modifiers. A compound modifier is a word or a few words that are used to change the meaning of another word. For example, today’s article includes the following compound modifiers: “heart-related problems,” “extra-virgin olive oil,” “low-fat diet,” and “non-Mediterranean eaters.” In all of these examples, the first words: heart, extra, low, and non are used to change the readers understanding of the word they are linked to by the hyphen. Using compound modifiers helps authors write clearly to their readers by showing how the meanings of certain words have been changed.

Create  your own compound modifiers to describe a dog, an athlete, a teacher, an actor, and a country.

Here are a few examples: long-haired poodle, quick-footed Luis Suarez, red-headed Mrs. Shapiro, Academy-award-winning Anne Hathaway, and super-tiny Swaziland