Mediterranean Diet and Chronic disease


People have become more aware that lifestyle plays a profound role in many of the chronic diseases of modern society. Andrew Weil, Harvard-educated doctor and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, says that food can cause or combat systemic inflammation.

There are two types of inflammation: the acute and helpful inflammation is manifested with redness or swelling, that occurs when your body fights a low-grade infection or trauma; and Systemic and silent inflammation can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia. As suggested by the British Journal of Nutrition, on their article Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation, reducing systemic inflammation in the body will decrease the pathology of numerous age-related chronic conditions.

Despite our knowledge, it seems that somewhere along the path we have gone astray. Body weight is on the rise and people are becoming more sedentary. Obesity, metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes are becoming public health problems of epidemic proportions.

The Mediterranean diet or Anti-inflammatory diet has become popular in recent years.  It includes eating more wild fish, fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fats; eating moderate portions of nuts; eating very little red meat, increasing plant base proteins and enjoying moderate amounts of red wine.

It is a heart-healthy way to eat with foods low in saturated fat and sugar. The Mediterranean diet features mostly fresh foods that have gone through minimal processing; it also involves using herbs and spices for seasoning instead of salt.

Red Quinoa Tabouli

Serves: 6



1 cup black or red quinoa, rinsed

2 cups water

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 red pepper, chopped

1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced

1 bunch curly parsley, chopped

10 mint leaves, finely chopped

one small red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

juice of two lemons

¼ cup olive oil (more to taste)

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Splash of white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar (optional, add if you think it needs a little extra kick)



To make the quinoa, first rinse one cup of quinoa in a mesh colander under running water. That washes away the bitter saponins on the surface.

Put the rinsed quinoa in a medium sized pot with two cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil.

Cover and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes, until the water is absorbed. Once it’s done, remove from heat and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

Let the quinoa cool, then toss in the rest of your ingredients.

Add more olive oil, salt or pepper, and/or vinegar to taste.

For a better taste, cover and let the salad chill in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, to let the flavors blend together.


By Susan Gail Farkas. Graduate of the Acupuncture Program of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Israel, as well as a certified Chinese herbalist and Shiatsu therapist in Israel. She complemented her clinical studies with a practicum at the Hangzhou Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Zhenjiang province of the Republic of China, in the departments of Acupuncture, Massage, and TCM Internal Medicine.
She recently received training to practice Health Counseling at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and has obtained Continuing Education Units from Purchase College, State University of New York. You can connect with her via Linked In.


TAGS: Chronic diseases, Andrew Weil, Integrative Medicine, Inflammation, diabetes, , obesity, Mediterranean diet, healthy fats, wild fish, recipe, quinoa, tabouli