A Mediterranean-style diet has purported to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from heart disease. A recent study from the University of Barcelona published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that those at a cardiovascular risk who followed this diet reduced their cardiovascular events by 28%.
The major component of the Mediterranean diet is heart healthy fats especially from olive oil and nuts. Study participants were told to consume either four tablespoons daily of either extra-virgin olive oil or an ounce of nuts (walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts.)
(Did You Know? There is loose data supporting the Mediterranean diet and a slower rate of physical and cognitive decline in the elderly.)
Other components to the study:
At least two daily servings of vegetables, including a salad.
At least three daily servings of fresh fruit.
At least three weekly servings of legumes, such as beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, soybeans, and peas.
At least three weekly meals of fish or seafood, especially salmon, tuna, or sardines.
A sauce of tomatoes and onion, often including garlic and herbs, simmered in olive oil, at least twice a week.
Wine with dinner, for those who drank alcohol.
The participants were also asked to cut down on fatty and processed red meat, pastries, and fat-based spreads.
– Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter