Mediterranean Diet Benefits Those With Existing Heart Conditions
Research published in the European Heart Journal suggests that a Mediterranean diet — which includes a high proportion of fruit, vegetables, fish, and unrefined foods — can decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease. Based on data from a study on more than 15,000 people in 39 countries (average age: 67), the research also indicates that avoiding the less-healthy foods often found in Western diets — sugared drinks, deep-fried dishes and the like — can help keep existing cardiac conditions from worsening.
The study's data are especially noteworthy for heart patients in the U.S., where heart disease is the number one killer for both men and women: more than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year, and someone in the U.S. has a heart attack every 43 seconds.
The cardio benefits of a Mediterranean diet have, of course, long been known, and the American Heart Association specifically recommends frequent consumption of fruit, fish, etc., as key ingredients in any healthy diet for people of all ages.
Finally, it's worth noting that in the study cited in the European Heart Journal, respondents were allowed to decide for themselves what constitutes a "serving," as that was seen as one way to make the four-year study easier to take part in.