For a number of years, the Mediterranean Diet has been rated by U.S. News and World Reports at the top of its “Best Diets Overall,” “The Best Diets for Healthy Eating,” “The Best Heart-Healthy Diets,” and “The Best Plant-Based Diets.” Now two recent studies add reasons for you to consider this style of nutrition if you have not already. In my book Fit over 50: Make Simple Choices for a Healthier, Happier You, I wrote:
The Mediterranean Diet is based upon the general belief that the people in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less chronic disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer than most Americans. There isn’t a specific Mediterranean diet. Italians eat differently from Greeks, who eat differently from the Spanish. But folks in these countries have a not-so-surprising secret: a lifestyle that is active combined with a diet low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat, while high in produce, nuts, and other healthful foods.
The first recent study included more than 1,000 patients and reported that a Mediterranean diet was better than a low-fat diet for preventing major cardiovascular (CV) events for those who had already had an event such as a heart attack or stroke. The Mediterranean diet was more effective for CV prevention among men, compared with women, but individuals in both groups increased their consumption of fiber and reduced their intake of red or processed meat. The research was reported in the journal The Lancet. You can read more in the Helio report here.
The second study, a small one, was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and showed a positive link between the Mediterranean diet and improved mood in men ages 18 to 25. Part of the study group ate more fresh foods and less sugar and processed meats, while other study participants were offered social support, with those in the diet group rating “significantly higher” on the Beck Depression Inventory Scale at the end of the study. You can read more in the WebMD report here.
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