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Mediterranean Diet Makes Good Heart Sense


The Mediterranean diet makes good heart sense. The diet is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, a 2007 study conducted in the United States found that both men and women who consumed a Mediterranean diet lowered their risk of death from both heart disease and cancer.

Evidence has been accumulating for over a decade now that the Mediterranean diet is makes good heart health sense. That evidence has now become persuasive. A large clinical study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the AARP, which had almost 400,000 participants involved were watched and scored according to their adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The participants were followed for 5 years. Both men and women whose eating patterns strongly resembled a Mediterranean diet had a 20% reduced chance of dying from cardiovascular disease. Men who were on a Mediterranean diet also had a 20% lower risk of cancer; women on the diet also had a somewhat reduced risk of cancer.

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Unlike the typical American diet, the Mediterranean diet is very low in red meat and poultry and very high in fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and cereals and fish and even wine. Perhaps the biggest component of the Mediterranean diet is it uses olive oil as the main source of fat, which can lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increase HDL cholesterol

The focus of the Mediterranean diet isn't to limit total fat consumption, but to make wise choices about the types of fat you eat including monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which contain the beneficial linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid). These fat sources include canola oil and nuts, particularly walnuts.

Mayo Clinic neurologist David S. Knopman states that "In the U.S., those who least adhere to the Mediterranean diet would be eating double cheeseburgers and other fast food," he says. "The findings might mean there's something bad in this diet, rather than something good in the Mediterranean diet." The bottom line, the Mediterranean diet makes good heart sense.

Science Daily