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Another major study was released this week on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. This study, published on the found that people who eat it have a 30% lower risk of heart disease than those who eat a traditional low-fat diet.
Close to 7500 people participated to this study in Spain over a 5-year period. They were assigned to 3 groups: one group was given a low-fat diet (as reference), while the other two groups were given two versions of a traditional Mediterranean diet. In one of the groups, participants were instructed to use at least four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil each day, while participants in the other group were instructed to eat about 30 g of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts each day.
The mainstays of the Mediterranean diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables. Participants were to eat fish and legumes 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 also encouraged to avoid commercially made cookies, cakes and pastries and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.
To assess compliance with the prescribed diet, researchers measured levels of a marker in urine of olive oil consumption (hydroxytyrosol) and a blood marker of nut consumption (alpha-linolenic acid).
If you’re wondering what the Mediterranean Diet is, one way to find out is to take the quiz designed by the researchers from the University of Barcelona.
Another way to find out what it is, and eat well at the same time, is to follow one of SOSCuisine menus 😉
Try one of our many Mediterranean recipes: