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In the July 2007 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Volume 86, Number 1, Pages 221-229) researchers from Monash University and the Cancer Council of Victoria, The University of Melbourne, The University of Cambridge, and St. Vincent Hospital Melbourne wrote that the “Mediterranean-style” diet was health protective. This conclusion was drawn from data collected for more than 10 years from 40,653 volunteers showing that a diet with the most fruit, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids had lower incidences of heart disease, obesity and some cancers. The point out that such a diet is rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and fibre. “This combination is believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic properties that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
Similar evidence of benefit for such dietary components was published by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in the July 2007 issue of the journal Chest (Volume 132, issue 1). Their study, based on date from 2,112 students aged 16 to 18 from around the US and Canada, showed that diets rich in fruits, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids act to offset the risk of asthma, chronic bronchitis, and “wheeze”. Lead author Jane Burns told colleagues, “Our study, as well as other research, suggests that high intakes of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory micronutrients are associated with lower reports of cough, respiratory infections, and less severe asthma-related symptoms.” While evidence of benefit was apparent in the results, evidence of risk was also for those who didn’t get enough of these critical nutrients. Results also showed that when dietary intake of fruit, vitamin C, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids was low, respiratory compromise – including decreased lung function, increased incidence of chronic bronchitis, wheeze, and asthma – was elevated.
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