Mediterranean diet

Paeans continue for the “Mediterranean diet” focused on olive oil, nuts, fish, and some wine.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently added another study asserting the Med diet’s cardiovascular health benefits.

That decade-long study examined diets of some 9,000 elderly people in Spain. In nearly every case, people following the Mediterranean diet lived longer and better than those who did not munch Med meals. Incidents of stroke and heart attack were a clear difference between the groups.

The study did not focus on wine consumption, but noted red wine was a “salient component” of the diet. This nod to wine reflects scores of other studies over many decades.

Med diet research was inspired by diets in Italy, Greece, and Spain because of better health outcomes in those countries compared to, for instance, America.

Principal Med diet elements include olive oil, legumes (beans, lentils), unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, moderate-to-high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt), low consumption of meat and meat products, and moderate consumption of wine (especially red wine).

A German study shows people who consume red wine even while eating high-fat meals demonstrated significantly lower levels of blood vessel inflammation compared to those who ate the same high-fat food paired with soda pop.

Results from these and other studies demonstrate a benefit from a moderate consumption of wine, especially red wine. Sorry, no studies show a benefit from over-indulgence.

As part of your Mediterranean diet, enjoy a glass or two of wine tonight—then stop to live long and enjoy the wine again tomorrow.

Tasting notes:

• Castello Banfi Chianti Classico Riserva 2009. Soft, easy drinking, fruity cherry; finish fades; good pour for those put off by serious reds. $15

• Bogle Phantom 2010. Raspberry-cherry-blackberry fruit monster; full body/mouth, oak galore, spice slice; zin-petite sirah-mourvèdre blend. $19

• Ruffino Modus 2011. Robust Super Tuscan-half savgiovese, rest cab/merlot; big cherry, big structure, big tannin; could use some bottle age. $27

Last round: I don’t need an app that tells me how many calories I burned exercising. I need an app that tells me how many glasses of wine I earned.