As we wind up February and American Heart Month we take a look at a heart healthy diet which embraces both good food and wine.
The Mediterranean diet has been around for generations, but now a new study gives us a reason to take a fresh look at this diet rich in fresh foods.
According to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine and featured on NYTimes.com, “About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet.”
The Mayo Clinic agrees, saying, “Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In fact, a recent analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality.”
The Mayo Clinic cited research saying that the Mediterranean Diet can also take credit for lower cancer death rate as well as fewer occurrences of both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.
The study released earlier this week was the first of its kind to look specifically at the Mediterranean diet’s results on heart disease.
The Spanish-based study followed nearly 7500 people who were overweight, smoked, and had diabetes or risk factors for heart disease. Researchers at the University of Barcelona followed the groups while they followed either a Mediterranean or low-fat diet.
The Mediterranean Diet has its own food pyramid, as featured on MayoClinc.com. At the base of the pyramid is a foundation of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans nuts, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices.
The Mediterranean Diet encourages eating these foods at every meal.
The next level consists of foods that can be eaten daily, but not as often as the first level, with fish being a staple here.
A moderate consumption of other protein and dairy-based foods consisting of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt make up the next layer.
At the top level are foods that should be limited, which includes red meats and sweets.