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Follow a Mediterranean or Nordic-style diet to cut risk of cancer and heart disease urges World Health Organization

Published on 22 May 2018 back to previous

Adopting a Mediterranean or Nordic-style diet could slash rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, a major review states.

The World Health Organization today pointed to the health benefits of both diets, which are low in dairy, sweets and red and processed meats.

The UN agency trawled through an array of scientific journals and other medical literature to unearth the evidence, in light of an obesity 'emergency'.

However, after analysing policies in 53 European countries, it warned less than a third are promoting either of the healthy diets, which the WHO said could save health systems money.

Vegetables, fish, nuts and olive oil are staples of the Med diet, while the Nordic diet incorporates more berries and pulses and instead revolves around rapeseed oil.

João Breda, of the WHO's office for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in Europe, called for more countries to adopt the diets.

He told The Guardian: 'Both of these diets are really good in terms of impact on health. That is not in doubt.

'We wanted to know whether countries were using them to inform healthy eating policies.'

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