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diet, the less heart disease and longer life they enjoy. Then in 2018, the large-scale land-


mark PREDIMED study with over 7,000 subjects published in The New England Journal of Medicine affirmed the cardio- vascular-fighting reputation of the Mediter- ranean Diet; those who followed a Medi- terranean diet and added extra nuts or olive oil had 30% fewer events than those following a low-fat diet. Data published from my own clinic


has shown that in patients who follow a low-glycemic version of a Mediterranean diet, the average person shrinks their artery plaque load over time (measured with carotid ultrasound testing), and amazingly, hundreds of our patients had more than a 10% regression in their arterial plaque load over an average of 2-3 years.


Enhancing Cognition and Preventing Memory Loss The most expensive disease in the U.S. and most western countries is dementia; recent estimates are that the total bill to treat it exceeds $278 billion per year. More startling is that the rates of memory loss and Alzheimer's disease are predicted to double over the next 15 years. Yet, just as we can prevent most cases or heart disease, there is now growing evidence that we can also prevent demen- tia and cognitive decline with the right lifestyle changes. PREDIMED researchers tracked the impact on cognition of the dietary interventions over 6.5 years on over 500 participants and controlled for mul-


tiple lifestyle and health factors. Those randomized to a low-fat diet had lower overall cognitive scores and more progres- sion to dementia than those in the Mediter- ranean diet group. Many other studies have also shown


cognitive improvement and/or reduced cognitive impairment with following a Mediterranean diet, including the FINGER trial, Three-City study in France, the Chi- cago Health and Aging Project (CHAP), and in a group of more than 1,200 Puerto Rican adults living in the U.S. Other data confirmed that the closer


a person follows these dietary recommen- dations, the better their brain processing speed and cognitive scores, results which have continued over 12 years of follow up.


MYTHS REGARDING A MEDITERRANEAN DIET


Despite the many health benefits of this eating plan, and the delicious food it provides, there are several misunderstand- ings that threaten to eliminate these ben- efits. Let's clarify several right now, dealing with the top six myths.


MYTH #1. You can eat all the healthy food you want There's no need to put a hard limit on daily servings of vegetables (you won't overdo it because you'll naturally fill up on fiber), but it is possible, for instance, to overeat walnuts or almond butter, or use too much olive oil, particularly if you're dipping pieces of bread into it.


MYTH #2.


Eating Mediterranean means eating pasta, bread and pizza You can easily overdo the portion size,


even with whole grains. When you see grains and cereals on the Mediterranean diet, this doesn't mean a giant platter of pasta, unlimited bread (even if it's organic and whole grain), or bowls of rice (even if it's brown rice). It's important to control your portions of grains and cereals, and as you'll read in a moment, of all the food components listed in the Mediterranean diet, whole grains provide the least health benefit.


Further, when you grind a grain into


flour, such as bread, that processed grain has a much higher glycemic load (sugar load) than the same amount of whole grain. If we want healthy blood sugar control, we all need to limit or avoid even whole grain products that are processed into flour---such as bread, crackers, cake, and pancakes.


MYTH #3. Eating seafood on occasion will benefit your heart Eating fish merely a few times a month


won't yield the disease-fighting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, particularly for the heart and brain. Because of the benefits from consuming long chain omega-3 fats that are found only in seafood, aim to eat seafood at least twice a week--preferably three to five times per week. Seafood in- cludes fish, shellfish, and seaweed. If you are vegetarian, or avoid fish and


SUPPORTING YOUR LIFE, THE HERBAL WAY


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