An extensive new study proves that a Mediterranean Diet can prevent up to 30 percent of heart attacks and strokes, according to findings just published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s website.
A Mediterranean Diet is heavy on nuts, beans and carbs. We recommend a tasty French Bread recipe to anyone considering it.
The trial is the first of its nature to measure the diet's effect on heart risk factors, with the study actually ending early because the results were so clear to all involved.
Even those who did not lose weight benefited from a daily intake rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables.
The diet involves only small amounts of saturated fat, sodium and sweets, though meat can easily be part of the plan, depending on how it is cooked. No deep frying is permitted, for example.
Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, describes the results as "really impressive," adding:
“And the really important thing - the coolest thing - is that they used very meaningful endpoints. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”
For the University of Barcelona study, scientists took 7,447 people in Spain who possessed risk factors for heart disease and had them follow a Mediterranean Diet.
It proved that balanced, low fat snacks and meals reduced the participants' odds of heart disease by 30 percent.
"This group is to be congratulated for carrying out a study that is nearly impossible to do well,” said Dr. Robert H. Eckel, a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado and a past president of the American Heart Association.
Take note, readers. And be healthy.