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Indo-Mediterranean Diet And Heart Health: What Is The Link?

The modern-day lifestyle has brought with itself stress, pollution of the cities and in addition to all these, an unhealthy diet has contributed to the detriment in the overall approach towards the living style of people. This, in turn, has caused a rise in the risk of developing various health conditions like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high risk of cancer etc.

From Vegan to DASH, the list of healthy diets is (almost) never-ending. Studies claim that the last decade witnessed one of the major awakenings of health-obsession, where people switched to adopt healthy lifestyles and habits [1].

Health experts attribute it to the equally rising number of health problems which have resulted in the exponentially high number of deaths from lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease and stroke; obesity and type 2 diabetes; and diseases associated with smoking, alcohol and drug abuse [2][3].

In a recent study published in the Open Inflammation Journal, the researchers have shed some light on the role played by the Indo-Mediterranean diet on heart health [4]. Before we get into what an Indo-Mediterranean diet is, let's explore the Mediterranean diet.


What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet focuses on the pattern and proportion of the food being consumed. It is an extremely nutritive diet incorporating a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil, poultry and fish and limiting red meat and taking red wine in moderation [4].

Saturated or trans fats are also kept out of the diet plan and on the other hand, it is high in monosaturated fats and dietary fibre [5]. Many researchers have proved that those who have followed the Mediterranean diet for a long number of years have had lower mortality rates [6].

The Mediterranean diet helps in losing weight, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of heart attack, depression, Alzheimer's disease and even stroke [7].

Benefits Of Mediterranean Diet For Diabetes

One of the primary benefits of the Mediterranean diet is that it helps boost heart health [8]. Mediterranean diet is rich in monounsaturated fats and omega-3 foods that are good for the heart. Olive oil and fish, two of the primary parts of the diet maintain a healthy cholesterol level and are low in saturated fats and thereby automatically reduces the chances of getting a heart attack or any other such cardiovascular problem [9][10].

Now that you are familiar with the Mediterranean diet and its link to one's heart health, let us take a look at what the Indo-Mediteranean diet is and how it can boost heart health.


What Is Indo-Mediterranean Diet?

A Mediterranean diet is flexible, that is, unlike most diets, this one can be adapted to local conditions. Although closely related to the Mediterranean diet, an Indo Mediterranean diet is distinguished by its focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains [11], whereas the Mediterranean diet focuses on omega-3 foods like fish and olive oil.

MIND Diet: Benefits, Foods To Eat And Meal Plan

Majorly, factors such as differences in culture, religion, geography, and resources influence dietary patterns are the ones that directly affect the adoption of changes in diets and in the case of the Mediterranean diet, nutritionists point out that the economic growth of a nation are also contributing factors (developed and developing countries) [12][13].

An Indo-Mediterranean diet consists of the following (in a vague sense of quantity) [14]:

  • Fruits (400-500 g)
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts (25-50 g)
  • Whole grains (legumes, rice, maize, wheat)
  • Mustard seed oil or soybean oil (3 or 4 servings)

Is The Indo-Mediterranean Diet Good For Your Heart?

The study, which analysed the role of nutrition in the management of heart failure with respect to the Indo-Mediterranean diet analysed the behavioural risk factors, food intakes, fatty acid intake and on the ratio of polyunsaturated fatty acid/flavonoid intake; and the results suggested the following [15]:

  • Indo-Mediterranean style foods reduced the risk of pre-heart failures, heart failure and arrhythmias.
  • The anti-inflammatory effects of the Indo-Mediterranean diet play an effective role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular mortality in patients with recent myocardial infarction and high risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • The researchers pointed out that, treatments in patients with heart diseases and problems who follow an Indo-Mediterranean diet could yield more beneficial results.
  • The anti-inflammatory effects of the Indo-Mediterranean diet had a positive effect on reducing the stress on heart, in every individual.

The researchers concluded the study by stating that the anti-inflammatory properties of the Indo-Mediterranean diet makes it extremely beneficial for improving your heart health, and also that it is an advisable diet for people suffering from heart-related problems.


On A Final Note…

Although there are hundreds of diets out there, only a few are popular, owing to the good reason of safety and effectiveness. Several studies have been conducted on exploring the best types of diet and Mediterranean diet has, many a time, emerged out as the winner.

And the combination of a Mediterranean diet with legume and wheat indeed proven to be effective for improving health. In a previous study, the Mediterranean diet was pointed out to be beneficial for individuals with diabetes.

Story first published: Saturday, May 30, 2020, 17:06 [IST]