The Mediterranean diet has long been considered a heart-healthy diet, and for good reason. It’s a diet that fills you up with produce, whole grains and lean protein, while keeping processed foods and sugar, along with red meat to a minimum. However, a new study has just been published showing that a vegetarian diet can be just as beneficial to your heart as a Mediterranean diet.
The study was published in the journal, Circulation, and researchers observed 100 adults over the course of six months. These adults were healthy and had low to medium risk for cardiovascular problems.
For three months, half the participants followed a Mediterranean diet, while the others ate a vegetarian diet. After three months, the groups switched and finished off the study with the opposite diet.
Throughout the study, participants had routine health screenings.
What the researchers discovered is that both the Mediterranean diet and a vegetarian diet are good for heart health, but in different ways.
For example, the Mediterranean diet helped to lower triglyceride levels. And for participants who followed a vegetarian diet, levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) dropped.
Why is this important? High triglyceride levels, as well as high LDL levels can lead to plaque build-up within the arteries, which increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Therefore, even though the Mediterranean diet and vegetarian diet brought about different changes in the body, both of these changes can equally support better cardiovascular health.
Study author Francesco Sofi concluded that “We now have two options in terms of the prevention of cardiovascular and also other diseases…They are both quite equally beneficial.”