May 14, 2018

471 The Mediterranean Diet [14 May 2018]

In two recent articles [#464 Heart Health Protocol and #470 Nutritional Support for the Elderly] I mentioned that the Mediterranean Diet is the basis of the protocols recommended by Dr. Philip Rouchotas ND of the Bolton Naturopathic Clinic in Ontario. Let’s examine it more closely this week.

While potential benefits of what came to be known as the Mediterranean Diet (MD) were reported in the 1960s and 70s, it was the Lyon Diet Heart Study, published in 1999, that brought it widespread recognition. This study followed 605 people with existing heart disease for 4 years, comparing the Mediterranean Diet with the American Heart Association’s then-recommended STEP 1 diet. The MD group had 56% lower risk of all cause death and 67% reduction in risk of cardiovascular-related complications. In comparison, beta blocker drugs reduce all-cause mortality by 22% and fish oil by 25%.

Surprisingly it wasn’t until 2013 that the Mediterranean Diet was tested for prevention of cardiovascular disease in the general population. This study published in the New England J of Med in 2013, followed 7,447 people randomized to two variations of the Mediterranean Diet and a control for 5 years. The MD groups had 28% and 30% lower risk of major cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke).

So what is the Mediterranean Diet? It is usually shown in the form of a pyramid (click here or drop in and ask me for a printed copy). At the base is physical activity and enjoyment of food with others – a great start!

Next is plant foods. Daily, each meal should be based around a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, seeds, herbs and spices. Olive oil and nuts are an important source of fats.

The third step is fish and seafood to be eaten often, at least twice a week.

Fourth is poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt, in moderate portions, daily to weekly.

Finally, at the top is red meat and sweets, to be used sparingly.

Drinking sufficient water is important. Wine is allowed in moderation.

The Mediterranean Diet is very general, so can be customized to your family’s tastes and preferences. In my opinion the significant lessons are: eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains and seeds; replace most red meat with fish and seafood; and restrict sugar and other refined carbs.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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