Cameroon, West Africa: Cancer
In the West African village of Ntui, both colon cancer and other bowel disorders are rare. One key reason is that the villagers’ diet is high in fiber and low in meat, the most protective eating plan. A recent study by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research reported that if we ate more fiber—and less red meat—more than 64,000 cases of cancer cases would be prevented each year.
A study of more than 400,000 people linked a high-fiber diet to longer life, as well as reduced risk for fatal cardiovascular disease, infections, and respiratory disorders. The researchers found that fiber from whole grains, such as barley, buckwheat, oats, whole wheat, quinoa, rye, brown or wild rice, and amaranth, was the most beneficial.
Crete: Heart Disease
A landmark 40-year study launched in 1958 found that of the seven European countries studied, men who enjoyed the best bealth and longevity lived in 11 villages in the island of Crete, which is the birthplace of the heart-protective Mediterranean diet.
But which foods make this diet so beneficial? Extra virgin olive oil contains powerful antioxidants that combat free radical damage, while Omega-3 rich seafood has an anti-clotting effect. Most people don’t realize that blood clots (not just blockages in the arteries) are the cause of heart attacks.
Cretans also eat high-fiber stone-ground bread, often dipped in wine or olive oil and vinegar, wild greens packed with micronutrients, legumes, and for dessert, yogurt drizzled with honey. Experts believe that it’s the combination of all of these healthy foods, and very limited amounts of red meat, that explain why the Mediterranean diet is so good for the heart.
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