A study appeared on the Journal of the American College of Cardiology proposes a new diet, the “peach-Mediterranean” diet, essentially a Mediterranean diet with more fish to replace meat, combined with the technique of intermittent fasting. This new dietary tactic would represent, according to the researchers, an excellent weapon in fighting heart disease.
Positivity of the traditional Mediterranean diet
In the past, several studies have underlined the positivity of the traditional Mediterranean diet with regard to cardiovascular diseases. The Mediterranean diet consists of the consumption of plant-based foods, including fruit, vegetables, legumes and cereals, especially wholemeal ones, olive oil and a moderate amount of dairy products. To these is added fish in addition to eggs.
The dilemma of veganism
A plant-rich diet is notoriously important in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, explains James H. O’Keefe, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and lead author of the study. However, veganism itself, if carried out too strictly, can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
At the same time, however, the consumption of too high a quantity of meat, especially processed meat, can lead to other types of problems, including heart problems. And it is precisely for this reason that the researcher proposes his peach-Mediterranean diet “as a solution to this omnivorous dilemma about what to eat”.
What is the peach-Mediterranean diet
It is a Mediterranean diet in which fish and seafood are included as a primary source of protein instead of red meat and poultry. According to the press release, five previous dietary studies had already found that, compared to normal meat consumption, more fish consumption can reduce coronary heart disease mortality by up to 34%.
Furthermore, a peach-Mediterranean diet also accentuates the use of extra virgin olive oil which can replace butter and other types of similar fats. The same olive oil, in several other previous studies, is considered as a panacea with regard to the cardiometabolic aspect. It can, for example, decrease the level of bad cholesterol and increase the level of high-density lipoproteins, the “good” cholesterol.
The same researchers of the study recommend “generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil” along with the vegetables.
Walnuts are also not to be underestimated
Additionally, as an additional supply of good fats and fiber, researchers’ peach-Mediterranean diet also includes walnuts. The latter is also a food that has been covered by several other studies that have shown that a daily serving of nuts may imply a lower risk of incurring heart disease.
Dairy products and cheeses
And what about dairy products and cheeses? “There is no clear consensus among nutrition experts on the role of dairy products and eggs in heart disease risk, however we have allowed them to be included in the peach-Mediterranean diet,” explains O’Keefe. The latter especially recommends yogurt and low-fat cheeses and recommends limiting butter and hard cheeses. For eggs the researcher recommends no more than five per week.
However, this diet must be accompanied by the so-called “intermittent fasting” method: it is necessary to limit the intake of calories in a time window between 8 and 12 hours every day. Basically it will be enough to go to sleep after dinner and not have breakfast the next day to easily reach the “caloric break” required by making a new meal around lunchtime.
According to O’Keefe, it is not dangerous to eat two meals a day instead of three because our ancestors lived on very limited supplies of food for millions of years. What is important is to concentrate above all on wholemeal and fresh foods: “The peach-Mediterranean diet with limited daily nutrition is an ideal cardioprotective diet”.