Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart disease

December 7, 2005 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Mediterranean diet cuts risk of heart disease

According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating a Mediterranean-style diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 15 percent.

Researchers from France assigned over 200 men and women who were at moderate risk for developing heart disease to consume a Mediterranean diet or low fat diet for 3 months.  Participants on the Mediterranean diet were instructed to eat fish four times weekly and red meat only once per week. Men were allowed 2 glasses of red wine daily, while women were allowed one. Participants on the low-fat diet were told to eat poultry rather than beef, pork or other animal meats. They were also told to eat fish two to three times per week, fruit and vegetables on a regular basis and low fat dairy products.

After three months, participants on the Mediterranean diet saw their cholesterol drop by 7.5 percent; while those on the low fat diet saw their levels drop by 4.5 percent. Based on these numbers, researchers conclude that overall cardiovascular risk fell 15 percent with the Mediterranean diet and 9 percent with the low fat diet.

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