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Mar 1

Ahh the Mediterranean, beautiful blue skies, white sandy beaches, tranquil waters, and reduced risk of heart disease & stroke. How ? The Mediterranean Diet!


The Mediterranean Diet – including olive oil and nuts, wine, and fish- can prevent the leading cause of death in America: Heart Disease, says Dr. Jon LaPook.  Research on the Mediterranean diet’s link to heart health has received extensive coverage in print online and national broadcasts. The study was praised by physicians and other leading experts in diet, most sources pointed out that the study was stopped prematurely after finding that the diet was so clearly beneficial to lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.

 In the five year study, NBC Nightly News reported that people on the diet were 30% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those on a general low fat diet.

The AP (2/26 Marchione) reported that participants were aged 55 to 80, just over half of them women. All were free of heart disease at the start but were at high risk for it because of health problems- half had diabetes and most were overweight and had high cholesterol and blood pressure.

The New York Times (2-26, Kolata) reported the magnitude of the diets benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.

The Wall Street journal (2-26, D3, Peterson) reports on the significance of the study as such pointing out that there not much prior research that has successfully proven a direct association between a particular diet and reduced risk of certain life threaten events

The Washington Post ( 2/25, Brown) reports, The researchers looked at numerous health outcomes, the main one being a combination of heart attack or stroke or cardiovascular death among patients on of the two Mediterranean Diets there were eight events, compared with 11 in the control diet , – a reduction of about 30 percent . The investigators found that when they examined the events, the most dramatic decline was in the rate of stroke in the Mediterranean diet groups.


Key components of the Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

Getting plenty of exercise

Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts

Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil

Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods

Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month

Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The Mediterranean diet traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice. For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and average nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with a lower level of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries.

Nuts are another part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. Nuts are high in fat (approximately 80 percent of their calories come from fat), but most of the fat is not saturated. Because nuts are high in calories, they should not be eaten in large amounts — generally no more than a handful a day. For the best nutrition, avoid candied or honey-roasted and heavily salted nuts.

Grains in the Mediterranean region are typically whole grain and usually contain very few unhealthy trans fats, and bread is an important part of the diet there. However, throughout the Mediterranean region, bread is eaten plain or dipped in olive oil — not eaten with butter or margarine’s, which contain saturated or trans fats.

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