Related Topics: Heart Disease, Weight Loss

Mediterranean Diet: Big Benefits For Heart Patients

Menopause increases the risk for heart disease, so could the Mediterranean diet be the answer?

Dr Andrew Weil

We know that following the Mediterranean diet, with its abundance of vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, and olive oil helps lower the risk of heart disease. New research now suggests that eating this way also reduces the risk of death among those who already have cardiovascular disease.

This latest finding comes from a study of some 25,000 adults who live in Italy’s Molise region, including 1,197 people who had a history of cardiovascular disease.

Death risk reduced by 37% when following the diet

After 7.3 years of follow up, the researchers reported that the risk of death was reduced by 37 percent among the people with a history of cardiovascular disease whose adherence to the Mediterranean diet was highest, compared to those who were least adherent.

The reduced risk of dying remained even after the researchers controlled for other factors that influence heart health such as age, sex, calorie intake, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, exercise, and smoking status. Because this was an observational study, it doesn’t prove that the diet was responsible for the effects observed, but it does show an association between sticking to the diet and a lower risk of death. The results were presented at European Society of Cardiology conference on August 28, 2016 in Rome, Italy.

The many benefits of the Mediterranean diet

My take? I’ve long been a proponent of the Mediterranean diet, on which I modeled my anti-inflammatory diet, and it’s often described as a composite of the traditional cuisines of Spain, southern France, Italy, Greece, Crete and parts of the Middle East.

The diet doesn’t eliminate red meat but limits it to about one meal a month; similarly, poultry, eggs and sweets are permitted but typically are eaten weekly, rather than being daily fare.

Moderate amounts of wine are part of the diet. It’s important to remember that the traditional Mediterranean diet is part of a cultural package, which includes regular physical activity and strong social and family bonds, which are reinforced around shared meals.

Helpful information: 

Women at menopause are more likely to be at risk for a heart attack or stroke, depending on family history and other factors such as exposure to long-term excess oestrogen.

Rebalancing hormones can help keep y0ur heart healthy, and bioidentical progesterone supports you to do just that.

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