Mediterranean diet lowers heart disease risk

A new study says the Mediterranean diet lowers your risk for heart disease. What is the Mediterranean diet? The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is based on traditional foods people having been eating for many years in Mediterranean countries like Greece and Italy. Researchers in the past have said that people who consume a Mediterranean diet are exceptionally healthy compared to those who do not. Specifically, people who eat a Mediterranean diet tend to have a lower risk for many deadly diseases. Numerous studies show the Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss, prevent heart attacks and strokes, prevent type 2 diabetes, and prevent premature death.

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The new study comes from Greece and involved 1,514 men and 1,528 women who lived near Athens. They were all basically healthy and had no prior clinical signs of heart disease. The study participants ranged from ages 18 to 89. They completed questionnaires regarding their diet and health. After long-term follow up, the researchers found that 19.7 percent of the men and about 12 percent of the women had developed or died of heart disease or a related condition such as stroke. The results showed that those who ate the traditional Mediterranean Greek diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease compared to those who did not.

Because the Mediterranean diet can vary among different countries, there is no one right way to do this diet. While there are some general guidelines to the diet, they can certainly be adjusted to individual needs and preferences. Here is what the diet generally entails:

Basics of the Mediterranean diet:

·         Eat: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood and extra virgin olive oil.

·         Eat in moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt.

·         Eat rarely: Red meat

·         Avoid: Sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils and other highly processed foods.

Mediterranean diet foods to try:

·         Vegetables: Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, etc.

·         Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, strawberries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches, etc.

·         Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and more.

·         Legumes: Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas, etc.

·         Tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams, etc.

·         Whole Grains: Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole grain bread and pasta.

·         Fish and Seafood: Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab, mussels, etc.

·         Poultry: Chicken, duck, turkey and more

·         Eggs: Chicken, quail and duck eggs.

·         Dairy: Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt, etc.

·         Herbs and Spices: Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.

·         Healthy Fats: Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados, and avocado oil.