Lower heart disease risk with fish and wine

Eating nuts, beans, and olive oil can save your life…

These are the encouraging results of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine yesterday. They call it the Mediterranean diet. That, apparently, is how people from that part of the world eat.Mediterranean 2

People from the region are healthier, they say. They have less heart disease and stroke even though they might be overweight and smoke. I wonder if it’s just because they live where we dream of taking vacations, like Hawaiians and those beach bums you bump into in Miami. Spain and France, Italy, Greece, and Morocco. Ahhhhh.

The Mediterranean diet is relatively easy, I’d say, unless you’re from Wisconsin:

Four tablespoons of olive oil a day, every day. They don’t say whether you have to cook with it or you can just throw it back like a shot of tequila. An ounce of nuts each day (they used an almond, walnut, and hazelnut mix), about a quarter cup. My cardiologist told me at least 20 almonds a day. No less than three servings of fruit and two of veggies every day. And then, this may be the toughest part: fish and legumes (beans, peas, or lentils) three time a week…

Limit processed meats (bacon and brats), dairy products (sorry Packers fans), “commercially made” desserts, and sugary soda. Plus, they recommend: drink wine! “At least” one glass a day (like a vitamin). That’s about it. You high-risk heart patients just lowered your risk by 30%!

The study was so successful and eye opening that they stopped it early. And the researchers put themselves on a Mediterranean diet of their own.

So break out the beans and crack open the Starkist, it’s time to live like a Mediterranean and cut your risk for heart disease. Take the NY Times quiz and see how much of your current diet you’re going to need to fix.

Bon appétit…

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