We all dream of relaxing in the Mediterranean, eating fresh produce and basking in the sun. The good news is that you don’t have to travel miles to eat like you’re in the Mediterranean, you can (and should) adopt the diet in your everyday life.
A Mediterranean style diet has been praised for reducing the risk of heart disease. It has also been associated with a lower level of “bad” cholesterol that’s more likely to build up deposits in your arteries, than a lot of other diets.
Wayne W. Campbell, professor of nutrition science says, “The composition of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern varies across countries and cultures,” Campbell said. “What is common across most Mediterranean regions is consumption of olive oil, fruit, vegetables and legumes, but protein sources depend on what country and geographic region. If they live on the coast, they will eat more seafood, but if they live inland they will eat more red meat.”
This new research is interesting because a lot of healthy eating pattern recommendations include a broad statement to reduce red meat intake. Lauren E. O’Connor, lead author and recent doctoral degree recipient of the study spoke to this, saying, “Our study compared Mediterranean-style eating patterns with red meat intake that is typical in the United States, about 3 ounces per day, versus a commonly recommended intake amount that is 3 ounces twice per week. Overall, heart health indicators improved with both Mediterranean-style eating patterns. Interestingly, though, participants’ LDL cholesterol, which is one of the strongest predictors we have to predict the development of cardiovascular disease, improved with typical but not lower red meat intake.”
This indicates that a Mediterranean-style eating pattern improves heart health, with or without reducing red meat intake, if the red meat consumed is lean and unprocessed.
So not only should we be eating like we’re in the Mediterranean, we can also treat ourselves to a bit of red meat without feeling guilty too.