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Study: Twist On Traditional Mediterranean Diet May Be Ideal For Cardiovascular Health

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For decades, researchers have studied what diet is best for good health. New findings show a twist on the traditional Mediterranean diet may be ideal for cardiovascular health.

A review of research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows a Pesco-Mediterranean diet, which is rich in plants, nuts, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, and emphasizes seafood as the main protein, may be the way to go.

Preventive cardiologist Dr. James O'Keefe authored the research.

"We have a lot of first-level scientific evidence showing that this really makes a difference in your cardiovascular health, in all-cause mortality, in preventing dementia, preventing diabetes, and maintaining a healthy weight," he says.

Intermittent fasting is recommended as part of this diet.

"When you don't consume calories for at least 12 hours, the inflammation starts going down," Dr. O'Keefe says. "It's not as hard as it sounds because when you follow this kind of diet, the low sugar, low refined carbohydrates, high vegetable, high fat, it changes your hormones around so you're less hungry and you sleep better."

Dr. O'Keefe says it's also best to avoid artificial sweeteners and added sugars because they can raise insulin levels.

Red wine should be limited to one glass a day for women and up to two for men, according to Dr. O'Keefe.

He also says be sure to drink lots of water.

Darren Thomason, 31, tries to eat a healthy Mediterranean-style diet with fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.

"Fish, and some chicken, and then I try not to eat too much red meat," he says. "Eating a good diet sort of makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing for my body."

Darren's first meal of the day is usually lunch.

"That equates to not eating for about a 15-hour period of time during the day, but that's not necessarily something I'm deliberately trying to do. I tend to have snacks during the day, like vegetables or nuts."

He knows exercise is also important, he even ran a marathon last year.

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