There’s a good reason you may be confused whenever you open your refrigerator. From gluten-free, to low-carb, to high-protein, there’s a dizzying array of popular diets. They’ll all supposedly help you lose weight or improve your health. And they all have dedicated followers who tout their benefits.
However, the Mediterranean diet – which is promoted by Cleveland Clinic – is easy to understand and there is plenty of science to prove its worth. It gained attention in the U.S. starting in the late 1980s. Scientific evidence shows that it is cardio protective. The best diet for a healthy heart is the Mediterranean diet, says Steven Nissen, MD, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is based on typical eating habits from the early 1960's in some Mediterranean areas, including parts of Greece and Southern Italy. During that time, the rates of coronary heart disease were among the lowest in the world and the life expectancy rates were among the highest. These trends were attributed to the eating habits in the regions. More recently, in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Mediterranean diet was shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and death related to heart problems by 30%.
People on the Mediterranean diet eat:
Mostly fruits, vegetables, grains, olive oil and nuts.
Some fish and poultry — and drink some wine with meals.
Minimal dairy products, red meat, processed meats and sweets.
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