More good reasons to eat a Mediterranean diet


More research supports the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet. — AFP-Relaxnews picMore research supports the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet. — AFP-Relaxnews picFLORIDA, May 3 — Eating a Mediterranean diet can reduce “bad” cholesterol and improve health, even if you don't lose weight on the diet, a small new study finds.

The study included 19 men, aged 24 to 62, with metabolic syndrome, meaning that they had three or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as large waist size, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels.

For the first five weeks of the study, subjects consumed what is considered a standard North American diet, which is high in fats, carbohydrates, refined sugar, and red meat. For the second five weeks, they ate a Mediterranean diet, which is packed with fruits, vegetables, fish, and whole grains as well as olive oil and some of wine. The men then followed a five-month weight-loss program, then followed the Mediterranean diet for another five weeks.

Regardless of whether or not the men lost weight, they saw a nine percent decrease in levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol when they ate a Mediterranean diet, the researchers said. The study was presented May 1 at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The study adds to a mountain of research that has already proven the health-promoting benefits of the Mediterranean diet. Recently, researchers from Universidad de Navarro in Spain found that eating a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, fruits and vegetables along with wine can reduce your risk for cardiovascular problems. Findings were published in February in the New England Journal of Medicine. — AFP-Relaxnews



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