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Mediterranean Diet: Study Shows Reduction of Cardiovascular Disease
A research study done in Spain and released in the New England Journal of Medicine has shown that the typical Mediterranean diet can reduce the potential risk of three major cardiovascular disease events. This is good news for those of us that are conscious of healthy eating habits, but will require some major changes for a society that is addicted to fast food.
The Mediterranean diet refers to the way people actually eat in parts of the world, rather than a specific dietary regiment. These people encompass sixteen different countries and many variations within each country. Some diets are based on cultural, religious, agricultural and economic reasons. However, to clarify what is meant by a traditional Mediterranean diet, you will want to consider that it typically includes a high intake of olive oil, nuts, fruits, cereals and vegetables. It also has a moderate intake of poultry and fish and a low intake of red meat, dairy products, sweets, and processed meats; with a moderate amount of wine during meal consumption.
There is no denying the facts that the occurrence of heart and overall cardiovascular disease in those Mediterranean countries is much lower than in the U.S. The statistics are also showing that they have lower death rates. But, with that said, the reasons may not be entirely diet related. The factors of lifestyle are also included. The people in these countries have a higher level of physical activity as well as systems of extended social support. A study by the Mayo Clinic has shown that when 1.5 million adults of healthy stature followed the Mediterranean diet, they experienced associated positive health results of reduction in risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality as well as a reduction of incidences of cancer and cancer mortality, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
So the outcome of a variety of studies are showing that the type of diet that immigrants of many of our forefathers (and mothers) brought with them was a common sense concept. In the past, the Mediterranean diet was based on availability of food as well as what was grown in the community. As our American society advanced into the industrial revolution, wars and conflicts, the lifestyle became more fast paced and two income earners per household is now the norm. The results of these changes has led to a larger reliance on processed foods, fast foods and easy to prepare items. In a multi-plex society, we have created our own undoing simply due to convenience and the lack of time to return to the roots of our common sense ancestors.
While we may not be able to reverse the entire dietary process, we can make changes, one step at a time. Using extra-virgin olive oil in place of any of those other oils is the first step. Making sure that the table always has nuts and fruits available and, of course, the reduction of red meat in the diet. When you also begin lowering fats and sweets (a real problem in our society) this can help to reduce cardiovascular disease.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.