How You Can Get Started on the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has consistently shown in randomized control studies to reduce heart attack and stroke as well as lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.
Contributor: Leslie Cho, MD
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As an interventional cardiologist who specializes in prevention, I’m often asked by patients, friends and family which diet will best prevent heart disease.
There’s been much hype and fanfare surrounding various diets, but the diet that has consistently shown benefit in randomized control studies is the Mediterranean diet. It’s been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke as well as lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating habits found in southern Italy and Greece in the early 1960s. It focuses on plant-based foods – heavy on vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, olive oil and some amount of nuts.
But what does that really mean, and how much of these should we be eating? We can all agree that even too much of good thing is bad. So here’s some helpful advice about how to follow the Mediterranean diet as studied in clinical trials:
The first thing people notice about this diet is the limit on fish, nuts, meat and dairy to only three servings a week – not every day. Also, notice the lack of animal fat. In this diet, meat is an accent and not a centerpiece, of your meal.
Finally, eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Enjoy your food, eat what’s good for you in moderation and remember the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
This post is based on one of a series of articles produced by U.S. News & World Report in association with the medical experts at Cleveland Clinic.