Top Ten Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Plus a 'Must' to Include in your Dinner Recipe Collection.

Top Ten Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Plus a 'Must' to Include in your Dinner Recipe Collection.

Last year, the Doris A. Howell Foundation hosted Dr. Robert Bonakdar, who gave an in-depth presentation on what constituted an anti-inflammatory diet to manage pain. “Think mediterranean diet”, he advised.   You can read about all the ingredients here. 

Research shows that following a Mediterranean diet reflects on our health; anywhere from improving our cognitive function and keeping our brain in top shape, preventing heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease, to anti-aging properties and the pains of “growing up”.  

The top ten health benefits of a Mediterranean diet are:   

  • In an older population, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with olive oil or nuts is associated with improved cognitive function(1)
  • Following a Mediterranean diet promotes cell health, which ultimately results in healthy aging. (2) 
  • Following a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of diabetes(3)
  • Following a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, oily fish and vegetable oils may prevent breast cancer subtypes, and particularly triple-negative tumors. (4)
  • Following a Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of stroke, especially in people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. (5) 
  • A favorite: accompany your mediterranean meal with a glass of red wine. Aside from all the antioxidant benefits, moderate consumption of wine may reduce the incidence of depression (operative word: MODERATE). (6) 
  • Good bye to our personal “little summers”! Research shows that eating a Mediterranean-style diet decreased symptoms associated with menopause (hot flashes and night sweats). (7)   
  • Eating healthy may have a modest beneficial effect on colorectal cancer risk. (8) 
  • Myth de-bunked!  Contrary to public belief, following a mediterranean diet is also healthy for your finances.  By cutting expenses in meat, sodas and snacks, grocery expenses related to the mediterranean diet become quite affordable! (9) 
  • Live longer! The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in premature mortality rate among middle-aged adults. (10)

In honor of Mediterranean Diet Month, this recipe will probably become a must in your collection of ‘favorites’.   From Chef Doogie: “The flavorings in this colorful pasta leaves are from turmeric, carrot juice, squid ink, spinach leaves, and tomatoes. This rendering of the pasta dish has a remarkable clean taste that really makes it special.” 

Pasta Dish for the Mediterranean Diet
 Original recipe makes 8 servings                               

1 (16 ounce) package foglie d’autumn (autumn leaves) pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup Chardonnay wine
1/2 cup Burgundy wine
1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce


  • In a large pot bring 6 quarts of unsalted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain well. Place pasta back in the pot, add one Tablespoon of olive oil and mix to prevent the leaves from sticking together. Cover and keep warm while the sauce finishes simmering.
  • Warm oven-safe dinner plates in a 150 degree F(65 degree C) oven.
  • Meanwhile, in a 12 inch saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and saute until the aromatic oils are released – about 1 minute. 
  • Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and saute 3 minutes. Add the cubed chicken breast, dried thyme, dried basil, rubbed sage, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. 
  • Add the Chardonnay and Burgundy wines, and pasta sauce and heat until bubbling. Add the Portobella mushroom pieces and cook until the mixture has reduced and is thick and hot.
  • To serve, place two large serving spoonfuls of Autumn Leaves on each warmed plate and top with a large ladle of the chicken and Portobella sauce.

Enjoy!  And make sure you share your favorite recipe!   


About the Doris A. Howell Foundation:

The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to scientists researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, researchers, and authors to convey the timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health. of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that will create women’s health awareness and advocacy in the community.


Summary by Carolyn Northrup for the Doris A. Howell Foundation with information from the following sources:
(1) – Mediterranean Diet and Age-Related Cognitive Decline: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
(2) – Mediterranean Diet and Telomere Length
(3) – Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and risk of diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
(4) – Spanish Mediterranean diet and other dietary patterns and breast cancer risk: case-control EpiGEICAM study.
(5) -Mediterranean Diet Reduces the Adverse Effect of the TCF7L2-rs7903146 Polymorphism on Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Stroke Incidence
(6) – Alcohol intake, wine consumption and the development of depression: the PREDIMED study.
(7) –  Fruit, Mediterranean-style, and high-fat and -sugar diets are associated with the risk of night sweats and hot flushes in midlife: results from a prospective cohort study
(8) – Mediterranean diet and colorectal cancer risk: results from a European cohort
(9) – A Six-Week Cooking Program of Plant-Based Recipes Improves Food Security, Body Weight, and Food Purchases for Food Pantry Clients
(10) – The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduction in premature mortality among middle-aged adults.

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