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Ready to switch to a more heart-healthy diet? Here’s how to get started with the Mediterranean diet. If you’re looking for a heart-healthy eating plan, the Mediterranean diet might be right for you. The Mediterranean diet blends the basics of healthy eating with the traditional flavors and cooking methods of the Mediterranean. Interest in the Mediterranean diet began in the s with the observation that coronary heart disease caused fewer deaths in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy, than in the U. Subsequent studies found that the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthy eating plans recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote health and prevent chronic disease. It is also recognized by the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable dietary pattern and as an intangible cultural asset by the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Eating this way means you also have little room for processed fare. When you look at a plate, it should be bursting with color; traditional proteins like chicken may be more of a side dish compared with the produce packing the plate. Here, food is celebrated. Two of the five Blue Zones — areas where people live longer and have lower rates of disease — are located in Mediterranean cities Ikaria, Greece and Sardinia, Italy. Emerging evidence suggests that eating this way may offer protective effects for those with and at risk for type 2 diabetes. For one, Mediterranean eating improves blood sugar control in those already diagnosed with the condition, suggesting it can be a good way to manage the disease. Finally, people eat about nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day on a Mediterranean diet. It just so happens that one of the healthiest diets around the globe also is good for keeping your weight down. One review, published in April in The American Journal of Medicine, looked at five research trials on overweight and obese people and found that after one year those who followed a Mediterranean diet lost as much as 11 pounds lbs more than low-fat eaters.