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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Holly

Greece is known for its Mediterranean diet, which consists mainly of plant-based foods, small amounts of fish, and minimal meat and dairy. This diet has shown to have multiple health benefits, which have been attributed to the nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables.

Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet

In the 1950s, the inhabitants of the Greek isle of Crete lived on a 90 percent plant-based diet that consisted of almost no meat or dairy. This group had radically lower rates of fatal heart disease and cancer than the United States population at that time. More recently, studies have shown that consuming increased amounts of nuts, plentiful in a Greek diet, may cut the incidence of strokes in half. While the Mediterranean diet has been shown to cut heart attack risk compared to a Western diet, a purely plant-based diet may still be superior in regards to preventing and/or reversing heart disease.

Greece and Lifespan

In four countries, including Greece, consuming a diet rich in legumes has been linked to increased longevity. Greece also has the lowest rates of suicide in Europe, which may be associated with the high intake of fruits, nuts, and beans.


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