The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, yet very few people with higher education or incomes, or a combination of the two, enjoy this benefit, found a study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The Mediterranean diet highlights eating plant-based foods that includes vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains, besides fish and poultry. The diet recommends to limit red meat, replace butter with olive oil, and to regularly exercise. Red wine in moderation is acceptable on the diet, as some past scientific research claims it to be heart-healthy.
Marialaura Bonaccio, lead author of this new study and a researcher at IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, an Italian Clinical Research Institute, said in an email that problem is common in people from different income levels as they get different results from the same diet and this may be true for other diets as well.
The reason is to focus on quality than on food quantity. Says Bonaccio.
Bonaccio and her co-authors recruited randomly more than 18,000 people and calculated the body mass index, total physical activity, health history, smoking status, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. They considered every data available relating to each participant such as household income, education and marital status.
Using the Mediterranean Diet Score, Bonaccio and her colleagues assessed that people using healthy methods of cooking such as stewing, boiling than frying, grilling and roasting were healthy and even vegetables were taken as organic and bread as whole-grain. The researchers found that Mediterranean diet reduced cardiovascular disease risk and there are heart advantages and this was see only among people with more education and higher income groups.