~ 020111 Score Your Diet's Mediterranean Quotient

Joe Rojas-Burke
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

The Mediterranean diet is famous for staving off heart disease.

But there's growing evidence that the eating pattern -- heavy on vegetables, fruits, olive oil and fish -- offers some protection from a surprisingly broad list of health problems.

Among them: Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, certain cancers, diabetes, weight gain, and perhaps even infertility.

To rate how closely your eating habits fit the Mediterranean diet, use the following scale (adapted from the diet score created by Antonia Trichopoulou and colleagues at the University of Athens Medical School, Greece, with U.S. data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study.) Give yourself 1 point for each yes answer, and 0 for each no.

Vegetables: 4 or more servings a day

Legumes: 1 or more servings a week

Fruit: 3 or more servings a day

Nuts and seeds: 1 or more servings a week

Whole grains: 1 or more servings a day

Fish: 4 or more servings a week

Fats: More unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, than saturated fats, such as butter.

Alcohol: 1/2 to 1 drink a day for women; 1 to 2 for men

Red and processed meat: Fewer than 2 servings a day for women, fewer than 3 a day for men

Totals of six or higher put you in the range of highest benefit. Scores less than four mean you are getting little or no protection.

-- Joe Rojas-Burke; follow him on Twitter

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Copyright (c) 2011, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

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