From now on, to everyone who says to me, “If I’m not on a diet, I don’t know how or what to eat”, here’s what I’m going to suggest. Learn how people in the Mediterranean tend to eat– because now we have proof that if you’re in the high risk group, you can reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, and other heart disease by following their lead.
In a large and rigorous study, researchers found that when people at high risk for heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease switched to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, even moderate amount of wine with meals, they reduced their cardiovascular risks by 30 percent, even when no weight loss (or gain) occurred! The findings were so clear, the scientists stopped the study after five years…saying the benefits were irrefutable.
The study, just published in The New England Journal of Medicine, funded by the Spanish government’s Instituto de Salud Carlos III and others, concluded, “Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.” Here’s a link to the study Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet
Here’s a bit more detail about the foods eaten, from an article in the New York Times, Mediterranean Diet Shows to Ward off Heart Attacks and Stroke
“One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra-virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least four tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup — a generous handful. The mainstays of the diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables. Participants were to eat fish at least three times a week and legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, at least three times a week. They were to eat white meat instead of red, and, for those accustomed to drinking, to have at least seven glasses of wine a week with meals.
They were encouraged to avoid commercially made cookies, cakes and pastries and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.”
Here are the basics of a Mediterranean Diet from the Mayo Clinic website. You can also find many books about the Mediterranean Diet on Amazon.
This is exciting news…cardiovascular health risks reduced by 30% in people at high risk…regardless of weight change…a big leap ahead for those of us who promote a health-focus vs. a weight-focus!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Immediate Past President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Founder of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org