A study just came out showing that following the Mediterranean Diet – lots of veggies and good fats like olive oil and nuts – can reduce the chance of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent.
Here’s the diet the study participants followed:
One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least four tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup — a generous handful. The mainstays of the diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables. Participants were to eat fish at least three times a week and legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, at least three times a week. They were to eat white meat instead of red, and, for those accustomed to drinking, to have at least seven glasses of wine a week with meals.
They were encouraged to avoid commercially made cookies, cakes and pastries and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.
This is interesting to me because it is essentially the RA diet I’ve been striving for (though I’ve also been avoiding gluten, caffeine and alcohol). I say striving for because I definitely seem to find my share of gluten free pastries, coffee and forbidden half glasses of red wine…
I will say that the summer before I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I went on a mega vacation to Russia, Greece and Turkey. In Russia, my symptoms flared (though I didn’t know what they were symptoms of at that point). My feet were extremely swollen and it was very painful to walk.
By the second day in Greece, my symptoms were much better. This could be due to the slower pace of my travels at that point too, but maybe, just maybe, it was the awesome, fresh, veggie-heavy Mediterranean diet I embraced there.