By now you have heard the good news. If you switch to the Mediterranean diet you will significantly lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The New York Times reports:
About 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and even drink wine with meals, a large and rigorous new study has found….
The diet helped those following it even though they did not lose weight and most of them were already taking statins, or blood pressure or diabetes drugs to lower their heart disease risk.
Hopefully, you already knew that the standard American diet was not very good for your health. The Mediterranean diet was compared to: … the usual modern diet, with its regular consumption of red meat, sodas and commercial baked goods….”
Dr. Steven Nissen from the Cleveland Clinic observes:
“Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent,” he [Nissen] said. “And you can actually enjoy life.”
That’s the strange part: we all believe that the right kind of diet will allow us to enjoy life. Obviously, illness is going to compromise your ability to enjoy life, but still… in Spain?
According to the BBC:
Unemployment in Spain now stands at a staggering 26% with no signs of falling.
In Greece, the home of the Mediterranean diet, the economic collapse continues unabated. Things are so bad that Greek pharmacies are running out of medicines.
The Guardian has the story:
Greece is facing a serious shortage of medicines amid claims that pharmaceutical multinationals have halted shipments to the country because of the economic crisis and concerns that the drugs will be exported by middlemen because prices are higher in other European countries.
Hundreds of drugs are in short supply and the situation is getting worse, according to the Greek drug regulator. The government has drawn up a list of more than 50 pharmaceutical companies it accuses of halting or planning to halt supplies because of low prices in the country.
More than 200 medicinal products are affected, including treatments for arthritis, hepatitis C and hypertension, cholesterol-lowering agents, antipsychotics, antibiotics, anaesthetics and immunomodulators used to treat bowel disease.
Separately, it was announced on Tuesday that the Swiss Red Cross was slashing its supply of donor blood to Greece because it had not paid its bills on time.
Of course, there is no necessary correlation between the economic conditions of Mediterranean Europe and their diet of olive oil, nuts and figs. Still, one does wonder whether the economic performance of these countries has something to do with their avoiding of red meat.