Nutrition Article III

Eat this way for your heart

Four ways to change your diet and save your life. By Barbara Loecher If you’ve had a heart attack, adopting a Mediterranean-style diet can significantly lengthen your life, an important new study has found.

Researchers wirh the GISSI-Prevenzione Study, a large-scale Italian clinical trial, followed more than 11,000 Italians who’d recently had heart attacks. After nearly 4 years, they found that those who ate more fresh fruits and vegetables and used olive oil were about one-third less likely to die than those with the most butter and vegetable oils in their diet. Experts speculate that this healthy eating style could help prevent a first heart attack as well. (Presented at the American Heart Association’s annual conference, Nov 2000).

This study adds to the mounting evidence of the health benefits of Mediterranean-style dining. But many Americans still don’t know how to eat the way the Romans and Athenians do. “It’s a vague notion for many people here, but it needn’t be, “ notes Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD, author of The Omega Diet (HarperCollins, 1999) and president of the Center for Genetics, Nutriiton, and Health in Washington, D.C. Here’s how to do it:

  • Eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily (Prevention recommends nine).
  • Have fatty fish such as salmon (rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids) at least twice a week, or take 1 gram of omega-3-rich fish oil in capsule form daily.
  • Substitute heart-healthy olive and canola oils for other oils and saturated and hydrogenated fats.
  • Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol.

Source: Prevention Magazine, June 2001, Reviewed August 16,2001