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Synergy Tips

Synergy Tips

The Virginian-Pilot recently featured an article saying a Mediterranean diet can reduce heart disease. We agree with this article, especially the point by Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who said the study shows you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent -- and actually enjoy life.

Although the study did not thoroughly examine the outcomes of weight, cholesterol levels and hypertension, the study's findings are promising and reinforce what we believe at Synergy. We believe in a diet composed of healthy "real" food choices of fresh vegetables, lean proteins (including fish), and fruit and healthy fats through nuts and olive oil (in moderation). We certainly support the study's recommendations to avoid commercially-made cookies, cakes and pastries and to limit the consumption of processed dairy and processed meats.

The Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle than a "diet", and we support that.  If you have questions about the Mediterranean diet or your health, please call Synergy at (757) 410-5462.

In case you missed it, following is the article:

 



Mediterranean diet can reduce heart disease, study finds

By Gina Kolata, The New York Times – 3/6/2013

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 findings, published on The New England Journal of Medicine’s website Monday, were based on the first major clinical trial to measure the diet’s effect on heart risks. The magnitude of the diet’s benefits startled experts. The study ended early, after almost five years, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.

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 risk for heart disease.

“Really impressive,” said Rachel Johnson, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “And the really important thing – the coolest thing – is that they used very meaningful end points. They did not look at risk factors like cholesterol or hypertension or weight. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and death. At the end of the day, that is what really matters.”

Until now, evidence that the Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease was weak, based mostly on studies showing that people from Mediterranean countries seemed to have lower rates of heart disease – a pattern that could have been attributed to factors other than diet.

And some experts had been skeptical that the effect of diet could be detected, if it existed at all, because so many people are already taking powerful drugs to reduce their risk, while other experts hesitated to recommend the diet to people who had weight problems because oils and nuts have a lot of calories.

Heart disease experts said the study was a triumph because it showed that a diet was powerful in reducing heart disease risk, and it did so using the most rigorous methods. Scientists randomly assigned 7,447 people in Spain who were overweight, were smokers, or had diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease to follow the Mediterranean diet or a low-fat one.

Low-fat diets have not been shown in any rigorous way to be helpful, and they are also very hard for patients to maintain – a reality borne out in the new study, said Dr. Steven E. Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

“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 said. “And you can actually enjoy life.”

The study, by Dr. Ramon Estruch, a professor of medicine at the University of Barcelona, and his colleagues, was long in the planning. The investigators traveled the world, seeking advice on how best to answer the question of whether a diet alone could make a big difference in heart disease risk. They visited the Harvard School of Public Health several times to consult Dr. Frank M. Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention there.

In the end, they decided to randomly assign subjects at high risk of heart disease to three groups. One would be given a low-fat diet and counseled on how to follow it.

The other two groups would be counseled to follow a Mediterranean diet. At first, the Mediterranean dieters got more intense support. They met regularly with dietitians while the low-fat group got just an initial visit to train them in how to adhere to the diet followed by a leaflet each year on the diet. Then the researchers decided to add more intensive counseling for them, too, but they still had difficulty staying with the diet.

One group assigned to a Mediterranean diet was given extra virgin olive oil each week and was instructed to use at least 4 tablespoons a day. The other group got a combination of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts and was instructed to eat about an ounce of the mix each day. An ounce of walnuts, for example, is about a quarter cup – a generous handful.

The mainstays of the diet consisted of at least three servings a day of fruits and at least two servings of vegetables.
Participants were to eat fish at least three times a week and legumes, which include beans, peas and lentils, at least three times a week. They were to eat white meat instead of red, and, for those accustomed to drinking, to have at least seven glasses of wine a week with meals.

They were encouraged to avoid commercially made cookies, cakes and pastries and to limit their consumption of dairy products and processed meats.

To assess compliance with the Mediterranean diet, researchers measured levels of a marker in urine of olive oil consumption – hydroxytyrosol – and a blood marker of nut consumption – alpha-linolenic acid.

The participants stayed with the Mediterranean diet, the investigators reported. But those assigned to a low-fat diet did not lower their fat intake very much. So the study wound up comparing the usual modern diet, with its regular consumption of red meat, sodas and commercial baked goods, to a diet that shunned all that.

Estruch said he thought the effect of the Mediterranean diet was because of the entire package, not just the olive oil or nuts. He did not expect, though, to see such a big effect so soon.

The researchers were careful to say in their paper that while the diet clearly reduced heart disease for those at high risk for it, more research was needed to establish its benefits for people at low risk.



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If you live in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore, Richmond, Virginia, or North Carolina, and have any questions about the Mediterranean diet, nutrition, cholesterol, hypertension, reducing the risk of heart disease, weight problems, overweight, or low-fat diets to lose weight, please contact Synergy at (757) 410-5462 or info@synergymedicalcenter.com Our nutritionist is here to help you.

 

 

About Synergy

Free Seminar
Our next free seminar on Thursday, October 12, 2017 in Chesapeake (Greenbrier area) will focus on bioidentical hormone therapy and optimal aging for women and men. Please RSVP by calling (757) 410-5462.
News release here.
What Women Say here.
Synergy, located in Chesapeake, Virginia, is an integrative medical center for women and men that combines the best of traditional and holistic medicine. Our nutritionist and dietician is expert at the Mediterranean diet as well as other nutrition issues such as cholesterol, hypertension, reduce the risk of heart disease, weight problems, overweight, low-fat diets to lose weight, and more. The integrative center serves women and men in Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore, Richmond, Virginia, and North Carolina.

 

For more details, please contact us at (757) 410-5462 or info@synergymedicalcenter.com.


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