Benefits of Mediterranean diet - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Benefits of Mediterranean diet

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Pour on the olive oil, preferably over fish and vegetables.  Also, top it off with a glass of red wine.  Results from one of the longest and most scientific tests show a Mediterranean diet can cut the chance of suffering heart-related problems, especially strokes, in older people at high risk of them.  

The study involved about 7,500 people in Spain. Half of the participants had diabetes and most had high blood pressure and cholesterol. They were told to follow a low-fat diet or a Mediterranean one, with extra olive oil or nuts. That meant lots of fruit, fish, chicken, beans, tomato sauce, salads and wine.  In the study, the participants in the Mediterranean diet groups agreed to replace red meat with white meat like chicken and eat three or more servings of fish each week, along with three or more servings of fruit and two or more servings of vegetables a day.

After nearly five years, the results were so striking for one group that the study was stopped early.  After that time, those who ate Mediterranean-style had a 30 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular problems compared to the low-fat group.
    
The results support the use of the Mediterranean diet for "primary prevention" of heart disease, the researchers wrote online in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The results were released today by the New England Journal of Medicine.

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