Cardiovascular Disease and the Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet includes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish and limits the consumption of refined grains, oils, and processed meat.  Researchers have found that this diet has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  Specifically, they found that an adherence to this diet resulted in a 25% reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease.  Furthermore, they found that incorporating this diet could have a similar benefit as statins and other preventative medications.  The reduced risk of CVD events may be attributable to a reduction in inflammation, glucose metabolism and insulin resistance, and a decrease in fat.  For those at a higher genetic risk for cardiovascular disease, the Mediterranean Diet might serve as a healthy diet for lowering their risk.

The Mediterranean Diet is less of a strict diet and more of a way of life, in terms of dietary intake.  It is recommended that you eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish, and an emphasis on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as avocados, walnuts, and extra virgin olive oil.  A Mediterranean Diet involves eating poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt in moderation and eating red meat rarely.  It is recommended that you avoid consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meats, and refined grains and oils.

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Following the Mediterranean Diet can have multiple health benefits such as a decrease in fat and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.  The Healthy Lifestyle Center can help provide consultations specific to nutrition and education related to the Mediterranean Diet.  We can also provide support for maintaining and adhering to a healthy lifestyle and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

By Matt Lewandowski

 

Sources:  Mediterranean Diet Linked to Drop in CVD Risk, Batya Swift Yasgur.  Medscape– December 10, 2018; Mediterranean Diet 101:  A Meal Plan and Beginner’s Guide, Kris Gunnars.  Healthline– July 24, 2018; Ahmad, S., Moorthy, V., & Demler, D. (2018).  Assessment of risk factors and biomarkers associated with risk of cardiovascular disease among women consuming a Mediterranean diet.  JAMA, 1(8), e185708. Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash