The Mediterranean diet is filled with fruits, vegetables, olive oils, nuts, beans and fish. It also includes less red and more white meats. I’ve heard a lot regarding the health benefits of such a diet. However, I was unaware that there is actually solid scientific evidence supporting the Mediterranean diet as a lifesaving intervention. This is demonstrated in the Lyon Diet Heart Study. It examined people who had already suffered a heart attack, and found that following a Mediterranean diet reduced subsequent heart attacks and deaths.
In April of this year, an article published in Emergency Physicians Monthly presented data revealing that the number of people that need to be on a Mediterranean diet for five years to prevent one death from heart disease is 30. Compare this to 100, which is the number of people that need to be on a cholesterol lowering statin drug for five years to achieve the same thing. Thus, this diet is at least three times more effective than a statin drug at preventing a heart disease related death. And that is without any medication side effects. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
So, enjoy a mouthwatering Mediterranean diet. It is as good for your heart as it is for your palate. It really can be a delectable eating experience.
I graduated from medical school in 1998. I can recall many of the courses that were part of the curriculum. I can also remember, in general terms, many of the ideas that were passed on from our instructors to us. We learned a great deal on numerous subjects, including anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. During our final two years we participated in our clinical rotations, during which we applied much of our newfound knowledge. I was truly fascinated by all of this.
Graduation was followed by residency, where I spent four years as a doctor in training. Then in July of 2002 I started my first “real job” as an attending physician. As a practitioner of conventional medicine, I adhere to the dogmas and concepts that were taught to me as a medical student and that I continue to learn from contemporary medical literature. I know first-hand that many of the treatments offered by conventional medicine can be life-saving interventions.
However, I appreciate the fact that there is another vast body of knowledge related to health and wellness that many modern-day physicians are not aware of. There is so much that people can do to maintain health and prevent illness. With the countless new pharmaceuticals and advances in medical technology that are being developed, it can be almost effortless to abandon any efforts at prevention and just depend on modern medicine to address the problem once it arises. My feeling is that efforts geared towards true prevention and not just disease screening (healthy lifestyle vs. regular colonoscopies) are slowly going to become much more mainstream. Although doctors will be there when needed, it is the individual that must actively participate in maintaining health and wellness. Remember the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”