The Mediterranean Diet

The most comprehensively assessed and consistently supported diet by the medical literature in regard to its benefits on cardiovascular health and reduction in cardiovascular events is the traditional Mediterranean diet. Dr. Norman Roth discusses key aspects of the diet and explains how this can benefit heart health.

The main components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Whole grains (all of which are high in fiber)
  • Fatty fishes (salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout, herring, and sardines), which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated or healthy type of fat
  • Olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fat, another healthy type of fat
  • Nuts and seeds (also rich in monounsaturated fat)
  • Beans

The diet also recommends:

  • Mild intake of poultry, eggs, and dairy products
  • Responsible intake of alcohol within recommended safe limits
  • Very limited intake of red meat

The Mediterranean diet leads to a reduction in blood pressure, promotes weight loss, reduces LDL (or bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, both of which are associated with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The diet also can lead to a modest increase in HDL (or good cholesterol) and can lead to decreased intravascular inflammation (an important component to the formation of atherosclerotic or cholesterol plaque in arterial walls).

I urge my patients, especially those who have established cardiovascular disease, to try and follow the Mediterranean diet if possible, as this gives them the best chance of preventing future cardiovascular events when combined with optimal medical therapy and routine exercise.  

Hear Dr. Roth discuss the Mediterranean diet and its benefits on heart health.