One in eight deaths from heart disease and strokes would be avoided if we all ate a Mediterranean Diet full of whole grains, nuts and seeds, olive oil, fish, garlic, vegetables and fruit, with less meat and cheese products.
Cambridge University researchers sponsored by the UK Medical Council have conducted a ‘careful and rigorous’ study (1) showing that those people who adopted a Mediterranean Diet, or Rainbow Diet most closely, reduced their heart disease risk by 3.9 per cent and death risk by 12.5 per cent.
Dr. Nito Forouhi and a team of scientists reviewed data from 24,000 men and women over the age of 40 across a period of 20 years, monitoring their eating, smoking and exercise habits closely.
Those who adhered most closely to the colourful Mediterranean Diet, were also less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise. Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist said, “The Rainbow Diet is a natural diet – it’s been around for a thousand years. It’s a ‘lifestyle diet’. It’s is not just about the food but sunshine and vitamin D, exercise and community. The people who adhered to the diet and lifestyle reduced their cardiovascular and stroke risk enormously.
“Several years ago 11 expert cardiologists wrote an open letter in the Times asking David Cameron, then the UK Prime Minister to adopt a colourful Mediterranean Diet as our recommended diet. NICE – the National Institute for Clinical Excellence – has now approved it for people with cardiovascular disease. This thorough study from Cambridge shows that people who adhere most closely to the Rainbow Diet actually develop less cardiovascular disease and die less from it. The data equated to roughly 20,000 less deaths in the UK, 100,000 in the USA per year! Frankly, this is the one and only diet to adopt in your life”.
The top 12 foods for heart health
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Oily fish and fish oils
- Walnuts, almonds
- Leafy green vegetables, broccoli
- Whole grains
- Garlic and onions
- Green tea
- Seeds – pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed, hempseed
- Beans (pulses/legumes) like lentils
- Salads – peppers, tomatoes, beetroot, leaves
- Fruits – colourful berries, pomegranates, apricots
Whenever possible eat these in season.
You can read more about the colourful Mediterranean diet with recipes and research on our sister Website The Rainbow Diet