A Mediterranean diet

Perhaps one looks at the past through rose tinted glasses, and I don’t have the data to prove it, only my memory, but I’m sure that when I was a kid in school in the 1960’s there was only one or two kids in my class of 37 (yes 37!) that had Asthma.

Studies have shown that asthma rates in North America have doubled in the last twenty years or so.

Now it seems like every other kid has an inhaler (and many many adults too).

It seems that allergies of all kinds are very much on the increase.

Some blame this on the fact that we increasing live in almost hermetically sealed homes, at a constant temperature, heated in the winter, air-conditioned in the summer, which give dust mites the perfect breeding ground, along with the tendency to wall-to-wall carpeting.

However, eating more fruit and vegetables, and a Mediterranean style diet in general seems to lead to lower rates of asthma and other allergies.

Try eating at least a half dozen servings of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Also oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, trout and herring twice a week.

Try to reduce the amount of omega-6 fats, found in corn and soy, as well as margarines and processed foods, as there seems to be some evidence that omega-6 can cause inflammation, which can worsen or promote asthma.

Dump HFCS, and other Sugar from your Diet

The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) seemingly takes exception to any suggestion that High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is in any way to blame for the increase in Child diabetes in the United States.

The CRA loves to quote the American Medical Association (AMA) as saying that HFCS doesn’t appear to contribute more to obesity to other caloric sweeteners (such as regular sugar, for example).


However, The AMA also recommends a daily limit of 32 grams of such sweeteners. The average can of soda contains 40 grams of HFCS.

So even if HFCS in itself does no more harm than other sweeteners, we can’t get away from the fact that the average American consumes far more sweeteners of all kinds than is recommended by the AMA – over 500% more. As practically all processed food products contain HFCS, it is a major contributor to obesity, and diabetes in the USA.

The best way forward is to cut out processed foods altogether. Eat fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, pasta, diary, beans and whole grains. Check anything in a carton, box, or packet though to be sure of what you are actually eating.

Cutting out processed foods, and sweeteners, including HFCS, cannot do any harm.

Processed Food Carries Higher Cancer Risks

The World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research recently looked at how food affects cancer rates. The study showed that added salt and chemical preservatives and colors increased cancer risks.

Many processed foods can be directly linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer, and too much salt, leads to other complications such as hypertension. Processed foods can often lead to obesity too, which can increase the risk of some cancers.

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Other research has shown that about 30% of all cancer deaths can be attributed to poor diet and exercise routines.

Eating as much fresh fruit, vegetables and lean white meat and wild fish can help in reducing these risks.

More Processed, Less Satisfying

Take fresh fruit for example. Oranges are more filling than orange juice. Apples are more filling than apple juice. Why?

It’s generally had much of the fiber taken out, which means too, that many of the nutrients gets lost too.

Perhaps though, the best example is rice. Whereas wholegrain rice contains fiber and nutrients, it’s been shown more than once (and specifically during World War Two in POW Camps), what a diet of just polished white rice does. One ends up with Beri-beri due to an absence of Vitamin B, which is removed along with the husk.

For the same reason, whole grain bread is more filling than white.

So you end up eating more of it, and getting less nutrient, less fiber, and just more calories in the form of extra carbs.