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The Mediterranean Diet… From the Cardiologist’s Perspective

Author: Hassan S. Makki, D.O., FACC

At Phoenix Heart Center, my fellow cardiologists and I work with patients to reduce risk for heart disease, arterial blockage, and heart attack. While we use many different therapies, one of the best things a patient can do for himself is centuries old: diet.

The Mediterranean Diet & Heart Disease

The correlation between the Mediterranean diet and lower instances of cardiovascular disease was first discovered by Ancel Keys, an American scientist in the 1950s. The traditional Mediterranean diet is typically described as:

  • High in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Low-moderate fish, poultry, and eggs
  • Olive oil as primary fat source
  • Low red meat
  • Low-moderate wine

The Mediterranean diet has been proven to have the following health benefits in a PREDIMED study:

  • 30% reduction in risk of heart disease/stroke
  • 52% reduction in risk of diabetes
  • Results that are comparable to those seen in patients taking statins (for heart disease and stroke) and/or metformin (for diabetes)
  • Reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
  • Reduce the risk of death from (or occurrence of) cancer

The Mediterranean Diet: A Day in the Life

So, what would a typical day of dining look like with the Mediterranean diet?


  • Fruit or small glass of unsweetened fruit juice
  • Whole wheat breakfast cereal / oatmeal
  • Whole wheat bread / toast with olive oil spread


  • Soup and whole wheat bread
  • Small portion of chicken / fish / egg / cheese
  • Salad
  • Fruit and yogurt

Evening meal

  • Small portion meat / chicken / fish / egg
  • Plenty of salad / vegetables
  • Potatoes, rice, pasta, other grains
  • Fruit for dessert
  • Glass of wine (optional)

Read more about the Mediterranean diet and heart disease in the PowerPoint below. Two heart-healthy recipes are included, as well:

[slideonline id=13522]

(Click to download my PowerPoint Presentation on the Mediterranean Diet.)

To learn more about heart health and preventing cardiovascular disease through diet, schedule a cardiac consultation appointment at Phoenix Heart Center by calling 602-234-0004. Locations in Phoenix, East Mesa, and Tempe, AZ.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.



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