The Mediterranean diet is high in healthful fat such as olive oil, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and other legumes such as peas, beans, lentils, soybeans and alfalfa. It is low in red meat, sugar, certain carbs and junk food. The diet allows for a limited amount of fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products.
After years of debate, new research shows that the Mediterranean diet saves lives.
The study followed 7,447 people in Spain over almost five years, using very strict research methods. The people in the study were between 55 and 80 years old. They were at high risk because they already smoked, had diabetes or high blood pressure.
One group followed the Mediterranean diet by drinking moderate amounts of wine, and limiting the intake of red meat, soft drinks and baked goods.
Half of the Mediterranean-diet group consumed at least four tablespoons of olive oil daily. Another half of this group ate 30 grams of nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts) every day.
A control group followed a low-fat diet of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, bread, pasta and fish.
Eating the diet reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related illnesses by 30 percent among high-risk people following Mediterranean diet. .The study is important because it proves a direct link between diet and reducing health risks.
The research program ended early because it was felt that all people should have the benefit of the Mediterranean diet. There are questions about the research. No one is questioning the health value of being on the diet.
Want to know more about the Mediterranean diet? The chart shows what to eat on the Mediterranean diet.