Dr. Jeannette Graf has been a proponent of the Mediterranean Diet for years. As a pioneer of the powerful health benefits of this heart-healthy and alkalinizing diet, Dr. Graf has featured it prominently in her best-selling book, Stop Aging, Start Living.
What exactly is the Mediterranean Diet and why is it so healthy? Imagine the Mediterranean Diet as a food pyramid. The lowest tier, which is consumed in large amounts, contains olive oil, fruit, nuts, vegetables and whole grains. The middle tier, which is consumed in moderate amounts, contains fish and chicken, while the top tier, which is consumed sparingly, contains dairy products, red meat, processed meats and processed carbohydrates. As everything in the lowest tier is alkalinizing, it balances out the acid-producing effects of foods in the middle and top tiers. The diet also allows for wine to be consumed in moderation during meal time.
Despite the composite health benefits of the diet, there wasn’t a concrete link between the Mediterranean Diet and cardiovascular health. While previous studies show that people from Mediterranean countries seem to be at lower risk for heart diseases, the link was not definite since many other factors such as lifestyle and genetics could attribute to lower rates of heart disease.
That’s why the new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on the Mediterranean Diet is so critical. It is the first major clinical trial to measure the effects of the Mediterranean Diet on heart risk, and it shows startling results. According to the study, 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean Diet.
On top of its effect on heart health, the study also found that the Mediterranean Diet was easier to maintain compared to a low-fat diet. In fact, study parameters were changed in the middle of the study because participants assigned to a low-fat diet were unable to sustain it long-term. However, because the Mediterranean Diet is filled with delicious food, allowing for “treats” like dark chocolate and red wine, it was easy to incorporate into everyday eating.
Have you tried the Mediterranean Diet? Feel free to share your favorite Mediterranean recipes!