Cardiovascular expert Halit Yerebakan recommends following the Mediterranean Diet to protect your heart
The United States, with a population over 300 million, provides the most comprehensive data comparing diets and health.
The latest data from the US revealed the number one cause of mortality continues to be cardiovascular diseases, with an annual death toll of 600 thousand people, 800 thousand a year having their first heart attacks and over 500 thousand people a year experience recurring hearth attacks.
These figures are extremely high and worrying. Recent statistical researches also indicate that heart diseases and diabetes will remain to be at the top of the list in the near future. Along with introduction of new medicine and treatment methods for healing an unhealthy hearts, preventative measures for avoiding cardiovascular diseases are becoming increasingly important and popular.
Preventative in this respect, means that the main responsibility still resides with individuals. They are responsible for protecting their own health and the research is mostly for informing the public.
According to Yerebakan, it is your choice not to join the crowd suffering from heart diseases and improve your heart's condition and to protect it. Thousands of diet books and websites out there do nothing but guarantee that they will keep you healthy and passionately defend their own method as the best. In truth, many of these recommendations are neither reliable nor based on facts.
In the 1950s, Ancel Keys of the University of Minnesota realized that the Mediterranean geography has something special to offer and published an analysis completed in 20 years on the correlation between cardiovascular diseases and eating habits on 12,000 males from Italy, Greek Islands, Yugoslavia, Holland, Finland, Japan and USA.
The results showed that although people residing on the Greek islands consume high amounts of oil; they develop almost no coronary heart diseases and have a longer life expectancy. Keys was the first researcher to link health with regional eating habits and introduced the phrase "Mediterranean Diet."
Although there are 15 countries around the Mediterranean, they all have similar eating habits. But what is the key element of Mediterranean diet? The answer would be high consumption of vegetables and fruit; improving variety of foods in the diet, correct oil choice and consumption of the right carbohydrates. Yet, it is best to insist on mentioning "olive oil" whenever we speak of Mediterranean style eating.
Let's not forget that Mediterranean Diet is not a completely oil-free diet. It includes olive oil rich in oleic acid known as "healthy fats." There are few researches that revealed olive oil actually helps healing heart diseases. For example, it was proved that triglycerides actually help inflammations and blood clotting and also improve the functioning of veins. Extra-virgin olive oil is proven to increase the good cholesterol (HDL). But we recommend the natural extra-virgin olive oil produced by cold-press methods.
Although many controlled scientific researches underline the importance of olive oil, let's not forget that the Mediterranean Diet is not only based on oil but also includes vegetables and fruit. Research conducted in Greece and United States, on 22,000 and 400,000 adults respectively has revealed that people who opt for the Mediterranean Diet have a lower mortality rate due to heart disease. However, other comprehensive controlled and random researches on eating habits are required to completely prove this. Yet, the Mediterranean Diet so far has proved to be the "best" diet for preventing heart diseases. Without a healthy heart, none of our organs would function properly, including our brain. On the other hand, just barely surviving should not be enough, leading a quality life is also crucial for one's well-being. You can make sure that you are not left breathless and panting when you climb a few stairs or have to take your pills every hour preventing you from having quality time with your grandchildren. It is possible to get results by integrating few small rules into your lifestyle.
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