Mediterranean Diet Protects Everybody
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and fish prevented cardiovascular death in all populations studied
A new study looked at the impact of the increasingly popular Mediterranean diet on heart attack and stroke risks in a diverse group that included women, blacks, and Hispanics. The study found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet--rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and fish--prevented cardiovascular death in all these populations.
The Mediterranean diet score
The study, known as the Northern Manhattan Study or NOMAS, included more than 2,500 adults, of whom 64% were women, 55% were Hispanic, 24% were black, and 21% were white. Each participant answered a diet questionnaire upon enrolling in the study and was given a score to indicate how closely their diet resembled the Mediterranean diet. These scores were based on adherence to the following dietary characteristics:
Eating Mediterranean-style is good for everyone
After an average of nine years of monitoring, the following relationships were seen:
"Higher consumption of a Mediterranean diet was associated with decreased risk of vascular events," the study's authors said. "[These] results support the role of a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil in the promotion of ideal cardiovascular health."
Making the switch
Here are some tips to help you eat more like a Mediterranean native:
(Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:1458-64
Maureen Williams, ND, completed her doctorate in naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University in Seattle and has been in private practice since 1995. With an abiding commitment to access to care, she has worked in free clinics in the US and Canada, and in rural clinics in Guatemala and Honduras where she has studied traditional herbal medicine. She currently lives and practices in Victoria, BC, and lectures and writes extensively for both professional and community audiences on topics including family nutrition, menopause, anxiety and depression, heart disease, cancer, and easing stress. Dr. Williams is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.