Heart disease is a serious health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is often caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can lead to blockages and a decrease in blood flow to the heart.
There are several risk factors associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, and a family history of heart disease.
While some of these risk factors cannot be modified, such as family history, others can be controlled through lifestyle changes and medication.
Diet is one of the most important factors that we can control.
A diet high in saturated and trans fats added sugars, and sodium can increase the risk of heart disease.
This is commonly found in a diet that is high in processed and fast foods, as well as fried and fatty foods. A diet lacking in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can also increase the risk of heart disease.
A group of scientists from the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have recently discovered that a green Mediterranean diet could be more beneficial to people’s heart health than the traditional Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet, which is typically followed by people living in countries along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, involves consuming high amounts of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, grains, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil, while also moderately consuming red wine.
In the Mediterranean diet, green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, fresh fruits, and whole grains form the basis of food choices.
Olive oil, which is a monounsaturated fat, is also an essential component of the diet and contains alpha-linoleic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that is cardioprotective.
Fish and other seafood are another predominant reason for the cardioprotective nature of the diet.
Additionally, moderate consumption of red wine is recommended as it has been shown to provide multiple metabolic benefits.
The scientists in the current study aimed to examine the effect of a green Mediterranean diet on people’s heart disease risk.
The green Mediterranean diet is further enriched with green plant-based foods and has lower meat intake.
In the study, 294 overweight people were assigned to three diet groups, which included a diet following healthy dietary guidance, a Mediterranean diet, and a green Mediterranean diet, combined with physical activity.
Both Mediterranean diets helped people lose weight, with the green Mediterranean group showing a greater reduction in waist circumference compared to the other two groups.
Interestingly, these differences were found to be stronger among men.
The green Mediterranean group also achieved a greater decrease in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, and insulin resistance within 6 months, compared to the other groups.
The LDL-C/HDL-C ratio decline was greater in the green Mediterranean group than in the Mediterranean and healthy diet groups.
Furthermore, the inflammation markers also decreased more in the green Mediterranean group than in the other two groups. Finally, the green Mediterranean group achieved a better improvement in heart health.
These findings suggest that the green Mediterranean diet, which is supplemented with walnuts, green tea, and plant protein and is lower in meat and poultry, may enhance the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Therefore, people who wish to improve their heart health could consider adopting this diet to enjoy a wide range of health benefits.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and tongues of people with heart failure look totally different.
For more information about health, please see recent studies that Vitamin D deficiency can increase heart disease risk, and results showing Zinc and vitamin B6 linked to lower death risk in heart disease.
The research was published in Heart and conducted by Dr. Iris Shai et al.
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