With so much conflicting diet advice out there, sometimes it's hard to figure out what food plan is right for you.
The truth is, there’s no universal formula that works for everybody. There are preferences, habits, allergies and intolerances to account for in every individual.
However, if you’re looking for a general guideline, it may be helpful to start here: A recent study in the BMC Medicine journal has revealed that the Mediterranean diet could potentially save 19,000 lives a year in the United Kingdom alone.
Let that sink in for a moment.
The study surveyed 25,639 people for up to 20 years; so this wasn’t just a short-term trial. After all that time, researchers concluded that eating foods recommended by the Mediterranean diet could reduce cardiovascular disease deaths by 16 percent, which means we all should start upping our fruit, veggie, fish, nut, and legume intakes, and cutting out red meats if we want happy, healthy hearts.
Per the Daily Mail, study author Dr. Nita Forouhi said:
A higher level of adherence to the Mediterranean diet could have a significant impact on lowering the cardiovascular disease burden in the UK. …
We estimate that 3.9 per cent of all new cardiovascular disease cases, or 12.5 per cent of cardiovascular deaths in our study population, could potentially be avoided if this population increased their adherence to the Mediterranean diet. ...
Encouraging greater adoption of the Mediterranean diet looks like a promising component of a wider strategy to help prevent cardiovascular disease, including other important factors such as not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
However, also according to the Daily Mail, Tracy Parker, who is a dietician at the British Heart Foundation charity was both accepting of the research, but also careful to remind everybody that more than diet alone contributes to a healthy heart.
"The researchers found that those with high adherence to the diet were less likely to be smokers and more likely to be physically active -- both important independent factors in reducing a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease,” she said.