A study of over 7000 men and women at risk of cardiovascular disease, has concluded that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with either extra virgin olive oil or mixed nuts may cut the risk of cardiovascular events by as much as 30% in subjects at high risk of developing heart disease, as compared with people advised to eat a reduced-fat diet.
Researchers who led the study commented “These results support the benefits of the Mediterranean diet for cardiovascular risk reduction [and] are particularly relevant given the challenges of achieving and maintaining weight loss.
Interestingly, those in the research group were not told to reduce calories, which is often a major barrier to success in many dietary interventions, particularly the long-supported “low-fat” approach.
In fact, the Mediterranean diet encourages the inclusion of healthy nuts and oils, especially olive oil which should be used on salads and vegetables. Nuts should be unsalted or roasted to gain the most of their beneficial effects.
People who would like to follow the Mediterranean Diet as a healthier option should increase the intake of the key foods:
- nuts (unsalted)
- fish (both white and oily fish)
- legumes (beans, pulses and lentils)
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine in moderation
- white meats and red meats in moderation
You should aim to decrease:
- all processed foods including meats
- fizzy drinks,
- too many whole dairy products
- commercial bakery goods
- biscuits, sweets and pastries
If you would like to read the full research article please click on the following link: