Mediterranean Diet Decreases Cholesterol

Mediterranean Diet Decreases Cholesterol
The Mediterranean diet follows the traditional eating patterns of people living in southern Italy, Greece, Spain and Morocco. The diet is high in olive oil, yogurt, cheese, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and also includes moderate amounts of red wine, lean meats, fish, poultry and eggs. Dietary fat intake is about 30 to 40 percent of the total calories. Fat comes mainly from vegetable sources, which helps minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease. A study from Laval University in Canada found that people consuming a Mediterranean diet for 20 weeks after following a North American diet for five weeks decreased total cholesterol by 7 percent and LDL cholesterol by 9 percent. When the diet was combined with weight loss, people showed marked decreases in systolic blood pressure (-5 percent), diastolic pressure (-8 percent), triglycerides (-18 percent), blood sugar (-4 percent) and insulin (-30 percent). The Mediterranean diet has positive effects on risk factors of heart disease but it works best when accompanied by a weight loss program. (Nutrition Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, 21: 628-635)

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