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St. Vincent Heartbeat: Mediterranean Diet

Living under the Tuscan sun has always been romanticized as a better way of life, and now there's proof to back that up.
If your heart is longing for a life in the Mediterranean, there may be good reason. According to a study released by the New England Journal of Medicine, patients who adopted the Mediterranean diet were 30 percent less likely to have heart attacks, strokes and death.

"This is a groundbreaking study because it shows that the Mediterranean diet, plant based proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables can really help your heart."

So how did they do it? Of nearly 7,500 patients with high risk of heart disease, 1/3 at a regular diet. The rest ate either a handful of nuts or 4 tablespoons of olive oil in addition to 3 servings of fruit, two servings of vegetables, fish and legumes 3 times a week. They ate white over red meat and were encouraged to drink wine with meals. They all committed to it for 5 years.

It's been a lifetime plan for nutritionist Bonnie Taub-Dix, who not only teaches her patients to follow the diet, but also raiser her family on it.

"I used to cook kind of rich for my husband. I wanted to try to impress him with good food, but then I kind of liked the guy so I wanted him to last a long time, so I started cooking the Mediterranean style and that's the way that I raised my children."

For years, scientists tried to decipher why people living in Mediterranean countries had lower rates of heart disease. Now some experts say the proof is in the pudding, or rather, the nuts and olive oil.
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