Feb 26, 2013 5:47 PM GMT
A new study finally confirms what we've long known about a Mediterranean diet (which focuses on produce, olive oil, nuts, and seafood): It's a a healthy diet (particularly for your heart), with less of the sacrifice.
In a report published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers compare the health benefits of two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with olive oil and the other with nuts) to a control diet (a low-fat diet). In the study, 7,447 Spanish participants who were at risk for heart disease were required to follow one of the three diets. After nearly five years of monitoring, the results showed that the groups eating the Mediterranean diets had reduced stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by about 30 percent compared to the low-fat dieters.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes some criticisms of the study, such as some of authors' food industry ties and foods were supplied by olive oil and nut producers. Still, a Mediterranean diet is healthier than what many of us are eating, and it's really easy one to follow and get started with.
The recommended foods to start eating more of are: olive oil, tree nuts and peanuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish (especially fatty fish) and other seafood, legumes, sofrito (a sauce with tomato and onion), and white meat instead of red. Also, if you drink, wine with meals is fine—seven or more glasses a week.