Study Confirms The Health Benefits Of A Mediterranean Diet

Study Confirms The Health Benefits Of A Mediterranean Diet

A new study finally confirms what we’ve long known about a Mediterranean diet, which focuses on produce, olive oil, nuts and seafood: it’s a healthy diet (particularly for your heart), with less sacrifices.

Picture: Steve Hooton/Flickr

In a report published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers compare the health benefits of two Mediterranean diets (one supplemented with olive oil and the other with nuts) to a control diet (a low-fat diet). In the study, 7447 Spanish participants who were at risk for heart disease were required to follow one of the three diets. After nearly five years of monitoring, the results showed that the groups eating the Mediterranean diets had reduced stroke and other cardiovascular diseases by about 30 per cent compared to the low-fat dieters.

The San Francisco Chronicle notes some criticisms of the study, such as some of authors’ food industry ties and foods were supplied by olive oil and nut producers. Still, a Mediterranean diet is healthier than most eating habits out there, and it’s a easy one to follow.

The recommended foods to start eating more of include olive oil, tree nuts and peanuts, fresh fruits, vegetables, fish (especially fatty fish) and other seafood, legumes, sofrito (a sauce with tomato and onion), and white meat instead of red meat. Also, if you drink, wine with meals is fine — seven or more glasses a week.

The Atlantic has a good overview of the foods and serving recommendations for the Mediterranean diet.

At Least 7 Glasses of Wine Each Week [The Atlantic]


  • My family is Sicilian and our diet consists of things most would consider unhealthy – lots of soft and hard cheeses, cured meats, red meat, pasta, preserved fruit and veg, wine, etc. Yet my great grandparents lived well into their nineties and my grandparents are in their late eighties and have never had heart problems, high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes. I think the big difference is that we rarely eat fast food and most of what we eat is very simple and minimally processed. We don’t eat a lot of sugar either – probably the sweetest thing in my Nonna’s pantry is a panettone that was given to her 10 years ago!

  • I saw an article that I think was about this study in the last day or so, and I’m fairly certain it was here on lifehacker. The article included some statements something like to the effect that a diet with 10% fat or less would help to reverse the effects of, well, I guess past diets higher in fat–in other words help to clean up your arteries and such.

    Unfortunately, somehow I closed the article before making any notes, and today I can’t find such an article. I’d like to find that article again, if anybody has seen the same thing and can point me to it I would be grateful.

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