WASHINGTON — Not only is the Mediterranean Diet good for your overall heart health, but studies show it can help with joint pain, too.
Sally Squires, writer of the Lean Plate Club blog, says that if you’ve been thinking about transitioning to the Mediterranean Diet for its heart-healthy benefits, you also may want to consider it if you have pain and swelling of the joints from arthritis.
It’s a diet rich in plant foods, especially vegetables, dried beans, fruit, grains, cereals, nuts and fish — not to mention olive oil and of course, wine.
“We know that those foods are really helpful for heart disease,” Squires says. “It’s just a delicious way to eat.”
It also has a fair amount of poultry, dairy products and eggs, which Squires says are great protein foods.
“What it doesn’t have is a lot of red meat,” Squires says, adding that it can be added to your daily diet every now-and-then.
There is growing evidence that the Mediterranean Diet may help people suffering from arthritis.
Squires says arthritis and heart disease have a lower incidence in the Mediterranean region compared with northern Europe.
“They’ve looked at studies where they’ve put people on the Mediterranean Diet for a period of weeks or months versus [those not on] the Mediterranean Diet and they actually see that they have less joint pain, they have less stiffness over a period of six months,” Squires says.
The Mediterranean Diet is low in unhealthy fats — saturated fat, trans fats and dietary cholesterol. What it’s rich in is extra-virgin olive oil, which is a healthy fat and Squires says “really reaps the benefits.”
She adds this diet is an especially good eating plan for women, as heart disease is the number one killer of women.