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Mediterranean Diet Most Healthful

A comprehensive review of the world's literature, covering research in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to 2008, shows that eating a Mediterranean diet prolongs life and prevents heart attacks, cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (British Medical Journal, September 2008).

The combined studies included more than 1.5 million people followed for up to eighteen years. The reviewers analyzed total diet, rather than individual components of diet, because "the analyses of single nutrients ignore important interactions between components of a diet and because people do not eat isolated nutrients."

The Mediterranean diet contains abundant amounts of fruits, vegetables (including olives), whole grains, beans, seeds, nuts, fish, and up to two glasses of red wine a day. It does not include red meat and has only small amounts of dairy products (cheese).

In studies analyzing single components in the diet, eating red meat is associated with premature death, heart attacks, strokes, at least 23 different cancers, and arthritis. Not eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts is associated with the same diseases. The more different vegetables you eat, the longer you live. Fish eaters live longer than people who do not eat fish.

It is sad that the Western Diet has reached Greece, where three-quarters of the adult population is overweight and the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis approaches that found in North America. The Mediterranean populations are sacrificing their health to the convenience and taste of "fast food" instead of following their traditional diet.
List of the most recent (2009) studies supporting the Mediterranean diet


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Dear Dr. Mirkin: Will traveling the night before a major athletic competition harm my performance?

Yes! In one study, eleven males completed two trial runs on a treadmill: one after normal sleep, the other after 30 hours without sleep. After sleep deprivation, they tired earlier and ran less distance, at close to the same speed and perception of effort (European Journal of Applied Physiology, September 2009). The authors think that sleep deprivation affects the brain, reducing the runners' will to keep on running. Other studies show that sleeping helps muscles recover from hard exercise. I recommend that you arrive at your destination at least one day before you race.


Dear Dr. Mirkin: Is there any treatment for chronic non-bacterial prostatitis?

Sometimes appropriate antibiotics help, but the specific antibiotic must be dictated by the results of a semen culture. Prostatitis symptoms include burning on urination, frequent urination, difficulty starting the stream, urgency and terrible discomfort when the bladder is full. Doctors classify prostatitis into bacterial and non-bacterial causes. Most cases of prostatitis are called non-bacterial (no bacteria found in the semen culture). However, many men who are diagnosed with "non-bacterial prostatitis" come back later with superimposed bacterial infections. Furthermore, many men who have "bacterial prostatitis" and are treated with antibiotics and, as a result, have their semen cultures become sterile, continue to suffer the same symptoms.

I think that having non-bacterial prostatitis may set you up for secondary infection with bacteria. So, even if you have been treated previously with antibiotics, I recommend that you ask your doctor to massage your prostate and collect semen to be sent for a culture. If the culture grows a bacteria, you and your wife should be treated with the appropriate antibiotic for several weeks, or until you become asymptomatic. I also recommend that you never have a relationship with anybody other than your wife as you will increase cancer risk for both of you (International Journal of Epidemiology, December 2009) and you can pick up diseases that are a lot worse than what you have now.


Recipe of the Week:

Castaway Stew

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

June 21st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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