Eat Mediterranean To Save The Heart

According to experts, you can reduce the risk of heart disease by 15 percent if you choose to eat Mediterranean diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, olive oil, and light on red meat for three months. This was what the research study reported in 2005.

More than 200 men and women who were at moderate risk of heart disease were divided into two groups: one was assigned to eat a Mediterranean diet while the other one was assigned to eat low-fat diet for three months. People on Mediterranean diet were instructed to eat fish four times a week and red meat only once a week. Red wine is allowed with daily two glasses for men and one glass for women. For people on the low-fat diet, they were asked to eat poultry instead of beef, port or mutton; and fish two or three times a week, and were encouraged to eat fruit and vegetables, low-fat daily products and vegetable oils.

While the recommendations were not strictly followed by all the participants, eating habits did show a change in both groups. Both groups also indicated a small but significant drop in body mass index, an indicator for obesity.

There was a total cholesterol drop of 7.5 percent among the participants who were on the Mediterranean diet, while the total cholesterol had experienced a fall of 4.5 percent for those on low-fat diet. Based on this reduction, the overall cardiovascular risk fell 15 percent with the Mediterranean diet and 9 percent with the low-fat diet.

Besides fending off heart disease, Mediterranean diet appears to prevent gallstones too. A study conducted over a period of 14 years (from 1986 to 2000) on 45,756 men had published a report in 2004 that Mediterranean diet did help to reduce the risk of gallstones by almost 20 percent.

What is Mediterranean diet? Centuries before Christ, the area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea was colonized by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Roman, who shared a basic cultivation of wheat, olives, and grapes. These were later used to produce bread, oil, and wine - 3 components that are still very important in today’s Mediterranean diet. When one talks about Mediterranean food, fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs are immediately spring to mind. Olive oil, the core element that makes Mediterranean food so popular nowadays, contains a high proportion of mono-unsaturated oil.

It is important that ingredients should be fresh and of the highest quality in order to have a true taste of healthy Mediterranean food. Besides vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, fish, and olive oil, Mediterranean diet also uses other ingredients such as dairy produce, pulses, herbs, spices, and some preserves and pickles to add varieties to the taste.

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About The Author, Ng Peng Hock