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The Mediterranean Diet May Be Better Than Low-Fat For Heart Health

In the 1970s, research into proper diet concluded that a low-fat approach was best for lowering the risk of a cardiovascular event. A new analysis has found, however, that while diets focusing on low fat intake reduce cholesterol levels, a Mediterranean diet is actually better for lowering the risk of a cardiovascular event.

The Mediterranean diet is based on the eating habits of people in the Mediterranean region of the world. It consists of a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Additionally, this diet has a very limited amount of refined grains, saturated fats, and sugars.

The researchers analyzed studies and trials from 1957 up to the present day. They found that even though Mediterranean diets do not necessarily lower cholesterol, they are correlated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Researchers from the Gaples Institute of Integrative Cardiology in Deerfield, Illinois, and from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 31, 2013, in The American Journal of Medicine.

Previous research has shown that the Mediterranean diet may improve heart health, lower the risk of diabetes, asthma, lower rates of obesity and even decrease the overall risk of mortality.

The key components of the Mediterranean diet are eating primarily plant-based foods, replacing butter with olive oil, using herbs and spices instead of salt, eating red meat no more than a few times a month, eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.

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