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Mediterranean VS Vegan: Which Diet Beats Heart Disease?

The Mediterranean diet can keep your wellbeing in top shape for years, and even reverse health problems caused by decades of poor eating habits. This is according to a new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which found that a diet that still contains fat from olive oil, fish, and nuts, and a moderate amount of wine, led to 30% fewer heart disease deaths, strokes, and heart attacks than a low-fat diet in people over age 55 whose wellness hadn’t yet been affected by heart disease.

However, before you crack out the olive oil and the vino, consider the following questions. Firstly, how much do you resemble the people who were studied? The study participants were a group of nearly 7,500 Spaniards who didn’t have heart disease but were at increased risk. This means that they were overweight and had type 2 diabetes or at least three other heart disease risk factors such as smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Therefore, these subjects were adequately motivated to stick with a healthy diet plan, but they hadn’t actually developed heart disease. According to Dean Ornish, founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, who created a diet and lifestyle programme which reduced artery plaque and heart attacks in those with established heart disease, ‘An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. If you’re just trying to prevent disease, the Mediterranean diet is fine, but if you’re trying to reverse it, you have to go further.’

Also, ask yourself what you hope to accomplish from your eating plan. Ornish’s plan, based on a low-fat, vegan diet, may be better for reversing the disease if you’ve already been diagnosed, and such an extreme overhaul leads to a significant amount of weight loss. Michael Rubino, who lost about 40 pounds on the Ornish plan, commented, ‘I’m not going back, and I really don’t miss the meat, chicken, or sweets.’

Katherine Tucker, a professor of nutritional epidemiology at Northeastern University in Boston, added, ‘People who have had heart attacks might have a genetic predisposition to having more damaging effects on their arteries from higher fat diets,’ and so a vegan diet may be more beneficial. However, Tucker still recommended the Mediterranean diet to prevent heart disease, as you’re more likely to stick with this easier plan.

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2013 by and tagged , , .
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