A recent Harvard, Brigham, and Women’s Hospital study has proven that making this one diet change reduces:
– heart attack risk 28%
– inflammation 29%
– worst cholesterol 20%
. . . plus, lowering blood sugar levels (type 2 diabetes), blood pressure levels, body mass levels and hundreds of other health benefits.
And did I mention that it’s also yummy?
This study, which was published in the Journal JAMA Network Open, investigated 40 physiological factors, or biomarkers, of women who consumed the Mediterranean diet and compared these with the biomarkers of women who did not.
They observed 25,994 American women who participated in the Women’s Health Study for a period of 12 years.
The information they collected included food intake questionnaires, as well as blood samples, to test for blood fats, cholesterol, blood glucose, glucose processing, insulin resistance, inflammation, and other amino acids and metabolites.
Based on the food intake questionnaires, the researchers categorized them into three groups: a low, a medium, and a high Mediterranean diet intake.
Compared to the low Mediterranean intake group, the medium intake participants were 23% less likely to have a cardiovascular event and the high intake participants were 28% less likely to have one.
The researchers emphasized that this is better than, or at least as good as, one can expect in the case of statins and other heart medications.
The largest physiological factors that gave rise to this reduction in heart disease risk of the high Mediterranean dieters over the low dieters were:
1. Biomarkers that indicated inflammation were reduced by 29.2%.
2. Biomarkers that indicated better insulin sensitivity and better glucose processing were 27.9% higher.
3. Their body mass index was 27.3% lower.
4. Their blood pressure was 26.6% lower.
5. Their blood fat was 26.0% lower.
6. Their high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol) was 24.0% higher.
7. Their very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was 20.8% lower.
8. Their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was 13.0% lower.
9. Their branched-chain amino acids were 13.6% higher. These included leucine, isoleucine, and valine, all of which were essential protein components that build muscle and is obtained through food.
Other biomarkers were also healthier by an amount lesser than 10%.
The Mediterranean diet involves a high intake of nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish, vegetables, and fruit; a medium intake of whole grains and dairy; and a low intake of red meat, sugar, and processed grains, like bread and pastries.
As this study has shown, if this diet is adopted, you will be healthier and have a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes.