Good News for Women: The Mediterranean Diet Can Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease!

“The Mediterranean diet is known for its health benefits, especially for heart health, but most studies and research into diet and heart disease are done primarily in men. In medical research, there are sex disparities in how clinical trials are designed. This creates large gaps in clinical data, which can potentially impact the development of health advice. Our work is a step towards addressing this gap,” explained Anushriya Pant, a PhD candidate at the University of Australia’s Westmead Applied Research Centre and lead author of a new study that shows how the Mediterranean diet significantly lowers the risk of heart disease among women.

Photo: YouTube/Medical Dialogues

The Mediterranean diet has been voted the best diet by the US News and World Report for the year 2023. This is the sixth time in a row that the Mediterranean style of eating has been selected as the healthiest.

According to CNN, “The diet features simple, plant-based cooking, with the majority of each meal focused on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with a few nuts and a heavy emphasis on extra-virgin olive oil. Fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are consumed rarely, if at all, and sugar and refined foods are reserved for special occasions. Red meat is used sparingly, usually only to flavor a dish. Eating healthy, oily fish, which are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, is encouraged, while eggs, dairy and poultry are eaten in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet.”

Photo: YouTube/Medical Dialogues

And the Mediterranean diet is not only about food; it’s a lifestyle that involves dining with family and friends, interacting with one another over meals, and regular movement/exercise.

Based on a study by Pant and colleagues, women who adhered to the Mediterranean diet had a 24% reduced risk of heart disease and 23% reduced risk of death over time in comparison to other diets. What’s more, the Mediterranean diet also benefits women of different ethnic backgrounds with almost the same significance.

Photo: YouTube/Medical Dialogues

The researchers have recommended more studies be conducted that are more sex-specific pertaining to heart disease; risk factors associated with menopause; pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and other pregnancy-related health problems; and autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus which are prevalent among women.

Also, there is a need to further understand how the Mediterranean diet reduces heart disease and mortality risks, how it may be reducing inflammation, preventing cell damage through its rich sources of antioxidants, and boosting the health of the gut microbiome. The Mediterranean diet also provides other nutrients in bounty, such as fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyphenols.

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