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The Da Vinci Health Code

Did Leonardo da Vinci know as much about health as he did about art?

The Diet Code? continued...

John Rumberger, PhD, MD, the medical director of Healthwise Wellness Diagnostic Center and a clinical professor of medicine at Ohio State University, both in Columbus Ohio, says that The Diet Code is just another play on the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean-style diet capitalizes on whole grains, protein, and good fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats including olive oil and lots of fresh fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

"This is really what happened back in the old days," says Rumberger, the author of The Way Diet.

"Today, we have a lot of choices and eat lot of processed foods, and we tend to not necessarily pick the leanest meats to eat," he says. "As a result, we have a diet relatively poor in antioxidants." Antioxidants are found naturally in many foods and beverages and are thought to help prevent diseases, such as heart diseaseheart disease and cancercancer, by fighting cellular damage caused by damaging free radicals in the body.

Antioxidants "are extremely important in terms of reducing internal stressstress and helping to maintain our health so today, we end upon in situations where people need to take supplements to replace things they would have had benefited from with a Mediterranean-style diet," Rumberger explains.

"On top of that," he adds, "[Da Vinci and others who lived in the 15th century] were busy, worked hard, and exercise is an important part of [a healthy lifestyle]."

In Vino Veritas

"When you go way back in old days, the water was not safe, so when someone said 'how about some water from the pond,' you'd say 'no thank you, I'll have wine,'" he says.

Fermentation kills bacteria, and wine is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which raise good cholesterol levels, he says.

But as with anything, moderation is key, he says. "One glass of wine may lower your blood pressure, but three glasses may raise it."

The best way to eat like da Vinci and the other masters is to "make wise choices in food or take appropriate supplements," he says. "All diets will fail if you don't do some form of physical activity."

And choose organic if you can, he suggests. "In the Renaissance, there was a ready availability of fresh produce and it didn't have preservatives." Today, "the problem [with organic fruits and vegetables] is the cost can be higher, but choosing organic is a much wiser choice," he tells WebMD.

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