Dieting is one of the best ways to prevent high blood pressure or to lower it. Eating a well-balanced diet low in sodium, cholesterol, and fat can help your heart health. A new study has found that the Mediterranean diet may be better than statins in reducing the risk of heart disease.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
The Mediterranean diet is based on what Greeks and Italians eat on a normal basis. Their diets are low in red meat, added sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fats.
Instead, the diet focuses on lean proteins like fish and chicken, as well as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices, and olive oil instead of butter.
Eating whole, unprocessed foods, more natural nutrients from the meal can be absorbed. Additionally, using spices and herbs in lieu of salt is more flavorful and better for your heart.
Olive oil is a trademark component for the Mediterranean diet–and for good reason. Some people may worry that it contains fat that’s bad for you. However, the fats that are found in olive oil, as well as fish, are good for your heart by preventing cholesterol buildup and decreasing blood pressure.
Wine is an optional choice to add to the diet. Drinking a glass of wine at dinner has shown to also reduce high blood pressure. However, eating healthy is more important than making sure to drink a glass of wine each night.
A recent study found that people who stick to a Mediterranean diet were 30% less likely to die early, in comparison to people who ate red meat and butter more frequently.
Approximately 1,200 people that had a history of strokes, heart attacks, and congested arteries for over 7 years participated in the program.
Over the course of the study, 208 participants died. However, the findings showed that those who ate a Mediterranean diet, or very close to it, were 37% less likely to experience fatality.
Statins are commonly considered the best way to lower cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular disease. Some studies showed that statins reduced serious heart problems by nearly 24%.
Currently, statins are the most prescribed drug in the U.K. and the U.S. In the U.K., the drug costs the NHS £285 million each year.
Sometimes, taking a prescribed medication is necessary for your health. But taking a statin along with eating the Mediterranean diet will be a much better combination than relying solely on the medication.
Being healthy means being proactive. The study showed that simply switching what you eat each day can be enough to significantly decrease your risk of early death and prevent high blood pressure.
Talk to you doctor about which options may be best for you and your heart.