The Mediterranean diet is frequently lauded as one of the world’s healthiest ways of eating, and who can argue with all the produce, lean proteins, fish, grains and olive oil.
But a new study has found that adhering to a vegetarian diet can be just as good for your heart.
The journal Circulation published the results of a study in which Italian researchers gathered 100 overweight adults with low-to-moderate risk for cardiovascular disease. Half of the subjects enjoyed a Mediterranean diet while the others eliminated meat and fish but consumed eggs and dairy. After three months, the subjects switched diets.
Both diets were determined to be good for the heart, but in different ways. The vegetarians experienced a greater decline in “bad” LDL cholesterol – the kind that clogs the arteries with plaque. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, led to a larger decline in triglycerides, which can also lead to similar cardiovascular troubles.
Both diets also led to slight decreases in weight and the percentage of body fat. Subjects lost an average of 4 pounds on each diet. Similar results aren’t surprising, since both diets focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and nuts. Vegetarians, however, eat more beans, nuts and eggs.
Given the similarities though, it suggests that there is no one “best” diet. Eating fresh and healthful foods rather than processed foods and sugar, no matter the combination, is better for cardiovascular and overall health.
For more information, please read:
Which is Healthier: Being a Vegetarian or Eating a Mediterranean Diet? | Southern Living