The cumulative review emphasizes fish and seafood consumption as main sources of protein
A pesco-Mediterranean diet high in plants, nuts, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, and fish and / or seafood is ideal for optimizing cardiovascular health, according to a cumulative review published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Intermittent fasting is recommended as part of this diet.
The traditional Mediterranean diet has been confirmed by national guidelines as well as the ACC / AHA guideline 2019 for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet consists of plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, seeds, tree nuts, and olives), fish / seafood, olive oil, and moderate amounts of dairy products (yogurt and cheese) and eggs. Several studies and randomized clinical trials have shown that diet is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, depression, and some cancers.
"Although humans are omnivores and can eat a wide variety of foods, the ideal diet for health remains a dilemma for many people," said Dr. James H. O & # 39; Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute of Saint Luke, lead author on the study. “Plant-rich diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Veganism, however, is difficult to track and can lead to major nutritional deficiencies. On the other hand, many people in modern Western cultures consume meat excessively, especially highly processed meat from animals raised in inhumane conditions. We propose the Pesco-Mediterranean Diet as a solution to this "omnivorous dilemma" of what to eat. "
Previous studies have supported the inclusion of fish as part of a heart-healthy diet. The 2015-2020 American Diet Guidelines recommend that adults consume fish instead of red meat, poultry, or eggs at least twice a week. A Pescatarian diet includes fish and / or seafood as the main source of protein and minimizes the consumption of red meat or poultry. A meta-analysis of five prospective nutritional studies found that mortality from coronary artery disease was 34% lower in patients on a pescatarian diet compared to normal meat eaters.
A pesco Mediterranean diet also emphasizes the use of extra virgin olive oil instead of butter or other fats. Extra virgin olive oil is a high quality, unrefined olive oil. Previous studies have shown it to have cardiometabolic benefits such as: B. lowering low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) and increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ("good"). The researchers recommend using generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil (rich in polyphenol antioxidants) with vegetable dishes. To provide an additional source of healthy fats and fiber, the Pesco-Mediterranean diet includes tree nuts. The PREDIMED study, a randomized clinical trial to prevent primary heart disease, showed that a daily serving of mixed nuts resulted in a 28% lower risk of heart disease.
"There is no clear consensus among nutritionists about the role of dairy and eggs in heart disease risk, but we did include them in the Peso-Mediterranean Diet," said O & # 39; Keefe. “Low-fat yogurt and cheese are preferred. Butter and hard cheese are not recommended due to high concentrations of saturated fats and salt. Eggs contain beneficial nutrients and can be a healthy substitute for red meat. However, we recommend consuming no more than five egg yolks per week. "
Intermittent fasting, the practice of limiting daily caloric intake within a certain window of time (usually between eight and 12 hours per day), has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve insulin sensitivity by forcing the body to switch from burning glucose to fatty acids to switch (usually from belly fat) as the primary metabolic fuel. The most common form of intermittent fasting is time-limited eating, which consists of restricting to two instead of three meals a day and shortening the calorie consumption window. Indications of time-limited eating are preliminary and require further investigation.
“Our ancient ancestors did not have access to an unlimited supply of food all year round. They also did not routinely eat three large meals plus snacks daily. Focusing on fresh whole foods along with fish offers a number of health benefits, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health. The Pesco-Mediterranean diet with limited-time meals every day is an ideal cardioprotective diet, ”said O & # 39; Keefe.
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