Apr 22 2013

Mediterranean Diet Prevents Heart Disease



How exciting, a well designed study published in the New England Journal of Medicine strongly supports the Mediterranean diet for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study, done in Spain, included more than 7,000 participants. Other studies have looked at diet to lower cholesterol but this study was designed to assess if diet actually prevented deaths from CVD and it did. Participants in this study were at high risk for cardiovascular disease and included men and women age 55 to 80 years of age. They were included because they had at last three high risk factors including diabetes, smoking, hypertension, elevated LDL( bad cholesterol), low HDL (good cholesterol), they were overweight or obese or had a history of premature coronary heart disease in their family.The subject were divided into one of three diets : A Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil,  a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts or a control reduced fat diet. After almost five years those subjects on the Mediterranean diet had the lowest incidence of disease and fewer deaths due to heart disease. In interviews the researchers think the diet might be more effective in the United States where the typical American diet is even more harmful than the typical diet of native Spaniards.

Attributes of the diet included moderately alcohol consumption, low intake of meat and meat products, high consumption of fruits, nuts, legumes fish and olive oil. Weight loss was not the goal of this diet and reduction in CVD occurred just because of an improved diet and not weight loss.


Dietary recommendations included:

  • Olive oil – 4 tbsp or more each day this includes oil used in cooking and salads. Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in      polyphenols and is recommended over the ordinary refined olive oils lower in polyphenols
  • Mixed Nuts –  One  serving daily with a goal of at least 3 times per week , a serving is 30 grams or about one ounce and included walnuts, almonds hazelnuts, peanuts or a combination.
  • Fresh fruit - 3 or more servings every day
  • Vegetables - 2 or more servings daily
  • Fish and seafood - 3 servings per week
  • Legumes –  3  servings per week
  • Sofrito ( a tomato onion sauce simmered in  olive oil) 2 or more servings per week
  • White meat over red meat
  • Wine with meals ( only for those who are already habitual drinkers)

Try the recipe for Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad with Toasted Peanuts  pictured above, it is made with olive oil, vegetables and peanuts ingredients that fit on the Mediterranean Diet.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Mediterranean Diet Prevents Heart Disease”

  1. Thaliaon 25 Apr 2013 at 7:12 am

    Very interesting article. New research also shows lower rates of cognitive decline in those following the Mediterranean diet. This diet helps you keep your marbles!


  2. eileenBon 01 May 2013 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for sharing another good reason to eat the Mediterranean way.

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