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Kids breathe easier with Mediterranean diet
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A number of studies in Mexico, Spain, Greece and Chile show that a Mediterranean-style diet--which is heavy on fresh produce and healthy fats--helps protect children around the world from breathing problems.
American and European studies have already proven this eating pattern helps protect adults from heart disease, cancer, diabetes and even Alzheimer's disease.
The latest study, released this month, surveyed 1,476 parents of 6- to 7-year-old Mexican children. Those who ate Mediterranean style had 40 percent lower rates of asthma.
That backs up a Spanish study last year that followed children from conception to age 6.
Kids who ate "fruity vegetables"--those vegetables containing seeds, such as tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, green beans and zucchini--had much lower rates of asthma and allergies. Children who ate fruit and fish often also had less asthma, a chronic breathing problem that afflicts an increasing number of children.
A Greek study of older children, aged 7 to 18, found that the Mediterranean diet reduced seasonal allergies, or hay fever, by 66 percent. This study also zoomed in on some specific foods. Kids who ate nuts three times a week were 46 percent less likely to wheeze. (Be careful, though, as nuts can be a choking hazard for small children.)
Eating daily any oranges, apples, grapes, tomatoes or kiwis also cut respiratory problems by 63 to 86 percent.
It's never to late to begin this eating pattern. Asthmatic adults who followed
PROTEINS, HEALTHY FATS
The Mediterranean diet is the traditional eating pattern of countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, southern France and Morocco. People in these areas historically have had lower rates of heart disease and obesity.
The eating pattern features lots of fruits and vegetables. People also eat many starchy foods such as cereal, bread and potatoes. But instead of slathering bread with butter or frying potatoes in hydrogenated oils, they use olive oil as