Love is always in the air during February and we couldn’t be more in love with the Mediterranean Diet! Not only is it full of delicious foods and rich culinary heritage, but it is also good for the heart, and not just metaphorically speaking. And what better time to celebrate our love of the Mediterranean Diet and its heart health benefits than February, which is American Heart Month?

If you haven’t fallen head over heals for the Med Diet yet, let these recent research findings demonstrating just some of the heart health benefits of the Med Diet be your reason to embrace it:

  • Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Bologna (Italy) reported in the online journal PLoS One that after evaluating the diets of 780 firefighters in the midwest region of the United States, they found that those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet had lower rates of metabolic syndrome, lower levels of LDL-cholesterol, higher levels of HDL-cholesterol, and reported less weight gain.
A study published in December in Food Chemistry identified 40 different types of polyphenols, as well as carotenoids, and vitamin C in Mediterranean sofritos (sautéed vegetables and spices, usually a combination of tomatoes, garlic, and onions cooked in olive oil). Polyphenols are associated with low incidence of heart disease.
  • Researchers at Johns Hopkins University published in June 2013 in the American Journal of Epidemiology their findings that study participants who exercised regularly, ate a Mediterranean-style diet, kept a normal weight, and did not smoke had an 80% lower death rate compared to participants with none of the healthy behaviors.
  • A landmark clinical trial of nearly 7,500 people found that following a Mediterranean Diet may reduce the risk for heart disease by up to 30% and may also reduce the risk for stroke. The study’s results, published in The New England Journal of Medicine in February 2013, were so clear that researchers halted the study earlier than planned because it was deemed unethical to prevent the control group from switching to a Mediterranean Diet.

At Oldways we are celebrating our adoration for the amazing benefits that the Mediterranean Diet has on heart health by using American Heart Month to prepare to exhibit at the American College of Cardiology’s annual conference at the end of March. With an astounding amount of research pointing to the Mediterranean Diet’s ability to protect against heart disease, it only makes sense for us to bring our wealth of educational resources on the Mediterranean Diet to the 20,000 ACC attendees.

We are assembling Mediterranean Diet Starter Kits for doctors to use when counseling patients on making healthy diet and lifestyle choices. Our kits include the latest research findings, tools for helping patients identify and choose good foods, and resources for turning those good foods into healthy, delicious meals.

We love that we will have the opportunity to share our materials, but are also excited to learn from conference attendees how we can best support them in helping people adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

If you work in cardiology or are concerned about your own risk for heart disease and have questions about the Mediterranean Diet, let us know how we can support you! You can contact us at sara@oldwayspt.org.


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