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New Research Shows Mediterranean Diet Is Good For Heart Health

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Mediterranean Diet has been around for some time, but Spanish research published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine claims a 30 percent reduction in heart disease, primarily strokes, compared to those favoring a low-fat diet.

Dr. Will Clower, Ph.D., is very excited about their findings.

"They ruled out everything else but the diet alone," said Dr. Clower. "It wasn't weight loss that did it. It wasn't exercise that did it. It was the food."

Clower, the CEO of Pittsburgh-based Mediterranean Wellness, has built his program around the Mediterranean Diet, which is the way people in Italy and Spain have eaten for centuries.

"They eat fruits. They eat vegetables. They lean on white meat, fish and chicken rather than red meat," he said. "They have a glass of wine with the meal and they also have these things in control, in moderation."

Red wine, Clower says, is slightly better than white wine as part of the heart health equation.

"Alcohol acts like an aspirin. It reduces platelets from sticking together," Dr. Clower said. "It makes them not sticky anymore, so on the inside of your pipes, on the inside of your arteries. It doesn't crud up and stick to the inside and occlude the blood flow."

Don't forget olive oil. That is a big part of the Mediterranean Diet.

Clower says when combined with complex carbohydrates like pasta or bread, olive oil limits big spikes in blood sugar.

Watch Dr. Clower on Pittsburgh Today Live:

In addition to the heart healthy results found in the study, Clower really likes one other thing about the Mediterranean approach.

"It makes it easy for normal people -- me and you and my mom -- makes it easy for us to make this work in our lives," Dr. Clower added.

And the research conducted over five years, with nearly 7,500 participants in Spain, now cites data about just how good it can be for your heart.

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