Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about:

The news from Spain this week is promising indeed. Some 7,500 Spaniards volunteered for a study that has shown quite clearly that the Mediterranean diet can save lives. In fact, those consuming a Mediterranean diet with either extra-virgin olive oil or walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds providing extra fat were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack during the study than those assigned to a low-fat diet.

Another kind of cardiovascular problem can arise in the veins rather than the arteries. Blood clots deep in the legs (called DVT for deep vein thrombosis) can break loose and lodge in the lungs, creating a medical emergency. What do you need to know about DVT and how to prevent them? Will aspirin help?

We welcome listener questions and stories about making heart-healthy choices in diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Guests: Gina Kolata, medical writer for The New York Times. Her article was published on Feb. 25, 2013. To take the quiz she mentions, click here.

What vegetables might you include in a Mediterranean-style diet? Here are 10 of our favorites:

• artichokes
• asparagus
• broccoli
• cucumbers
• eggplant
• kale
• peppers
• spinach
• tomatoes

This list was extracted from our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. It contains details on the Mediterranean diet.

Richard Becker, MD, MEd, is director of the Cardiovascular Thrombosis Center at the Duke Heart Center of Duke University Health System. The website is http://www.dukehealth.org/heart_center His editorial comments on a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on May 24, 2012.The ASPIRE study he referred to was published on Nov. 22, 2012. The photo is of Dr. Becker.

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

PS…a big ooops occurred on the radio show. We said something about consuming 4 tablespoons of olive oil a day during the study and also mentioned 1 liter a week of olive oil. Whew…we got nailed because the two don’t match up. Here’s the story:

The investigators encouraged participants to consume 4 tablespoons of olive oil daily. They supplied the subjects 1 liter of olive oil a week. We now know (thanks to our vigilant listeners) that there are roughly 68 tablespoons in a liter. If you consumed 4 tablespoons a day for 30 days that would be 120 tablespoons. But the subjects were given roughly 272 tablespoons of olive oil in a month.

The answer is that they were supposed to eat AT LEAST 4 tablespoons a day. They could have consumed more and in fact were encouraged to do so by getting the extra olive oil for free (an extra 152 tablespoons of olive oil each month).

Sorry we did not get it exactly right on the radio.

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  1. ML

    Just had to update this thread with news that the CHIPS program has just been added to the Research-tested Intervention Programs at the National Cancer Institute
    “The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) is a lifestyle modification course for groups of adults (aged 18 or older) in any community or workplace setting. The CHIP curriculum is designed to improve nutrition and reduce CVD risk factors by educating participants about the medical benefits of adopting healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.”
    …”Participants are encouraged to follow preset dietary and exercise goals. The dietary goals consist of adopting a more plant-based diet emphasizing as-grown, unrefined food such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fresh fruits and maintaining a diet that is low in fat (less than 20% of energy), animal protein, sugar, and salt; very low in cholesterol; and high in fiber. The exercise goal comes from the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health and consists of working toward walking or exercising for at least 30 minutes daily. Participants are given pedometers to wear and are encouraged to keep an exercise log to record the number of miles and/or steps (goal: 10,000 steps) walked per day.”
    This is the same type plant-based, no oil added diet advocated by Dr. McDougall, Dr. Ornish, and Dr. Esselstyn mentioned in previous posts.

  2. HJL

    I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe anything. I definitely don’t prescribe the Mediterranean diet since it is not the diet I follow. If your diet works for you, great! Stay on it and enjoy.
    Many of the principles you advocate are sound, but again there is no scientific proof what you are advocating works and is is highly unlikely many could follow it for long. You enjoy it, but remember you are highly motivated because of familial history. Our govt. has probably done more harm than our enemies by pushing a low fat high carb diet.
    But the tide is turning and the study which started this thread is a good example of why. And I do agree with you that most oils are junk and deleterious. But non processed olive oil based on science appears healthy.

  3. ML

    I am sorry that I was vague in my previous post. The individual I mentioned has since died from a heart attack, before the amputation was able to be performed. He was suffering from peripheral arterial disease. He did not have diabetes. My point before is valid. He was eating the type of Mediterranean diet you are prescribing. I do not have anything further to add to this discussion. I’ve provided info for anyone interested in protecting their cardiovascular system in previous posts.

  4. HJL

    Peppy, again you say that the study you introduced proves that high carbs have
    health benefits. I repeat again, the study was short term and had nothing to do with long term health benefits.
    The “Eskimo” people you mention as having good heart health had good heart health only when their diet was devoid of all carbs and they ate mostly seals with a high protein high fat content and no carbs. Their heart health deteriorated quickly when carbs (admittedly unhealthy carbs in the extreme) were introduced into their diet.
    Your post about your experience with a low carb diet mentions symptoms well known to practitioners of low carb and are both transient and easily ameliorated. Your increase in LDLs is also to be expected but is a meaningless number w/o an analysis of the type of LDLs present. Typically the good LDLs go up on low carb diets. You don’t mention your HDLs and Triglycerides on your low carb diet. These are the 2 best predictors of heart trouble and your numbers improved on low carb if you were on it long enough.

  5. HJL

    Sorry about what you are dealing with, but your post was outrageous. To blame a Mediterranean lifestyle, whatever that might mean, on the necessity for lower limb amputation is irresponsible, ignorant and misleading to anyone who
    might be trying to learn something from this website. Usually amputations are
    associated with late stage diabetes and you give no indication what the individual is suffering from.

  6. ML

    As much as I’d like to continue commenting on this thread, this week I am dealing with the culmination of a devotee to the Mediterranean lifestyle. He is having his foot and lower leg amputated. It’s a sad state and I think it speaks louder than anything I can add to the discussion.

  7. Old Jim

    Getting 4+ tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil(EVOO)is no problem at all!
    1) Rather than milk & sugar on my morning oats, I put 2 Tbsp EVOO and salt ’em, like they do with the delicious but devitalized hominy grits with butter down South. I crave this as it’s cooking like an addict craves his cocaine, and the dog licks the bowl heartily.
    2) Butter or margarine is no good until it’s melted. Why wait?, why flatten your toast?, use the healthier EVOO instead, like they do in high-end Italian restaurants on your bread. (Keep it out on the kitchen counter and the dining table in squeeze/squirt plastic bottles.)
    3) Don’t bother with questionable prepared salad dressings. First toss the salad in lots of EVOO till all leaves are glistening (You’d be surprised how much EVOO it takes to do this.), then add & toss balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, cache of Worcestershire, dash of hot sauce (a universal flavor-enhancer), basil, pressed garlic, etc. Helloooo greens!
    Weight problems? Get the good fats (like EVOO) and make up the calories, if you must, by crossing some gratuitous carbs off your list, a win-win policy.

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