Betty is a Registered Dietitian who earned her B.S. degree in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her M.S. degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She is the Co-Director and Director of nutrition for the New York Obesity Research Center Weight Loss Program.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The Mediterranean diet has been under research for over 50 years, and its
benefits continue to become apparent. The health benefits of the Mediterranean
diet range from a lower risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes,
Alzheimer's, osteoporosis, and stroke; lower blood pressure and LDL levels;
improved brain function, eye health, and fertility; healthy body weight; and
increased life span. The good news is that you do not need to live in this
geographic area to get these benefits. All that you need to do is understand
where they come from and what changes you can make to your
diet to get them.
The Mediterranean means "the sea between lands." This region is defined by
countries that border this sea. Take a look at the map and you will get an idea
of how diverse this region actually is. The diet followed throughout this region
is also diverse. There are cultural, ethnic, religious, economic, and
agricultural production differences impacting the dietary differences. So, while
many people like to claim that there is one Mediterranean diet, this is not
The studies done on the Mediterranean diet are not all created equal. These
studies use different questionnaires, containing different foods, to measure
compliance with the Mediterranean diet. This means that the results that you
hear about are not all obtained using the same foods and nutrients. This is
important to understand because it gives you lots of options for what you can do
with your diet. There is no one Mediterranean diet that you have to follow.
Instead, there are different foods, beverages, herbs, and seasonings for the
Mediterranean region that you can choose from.
Scientific evidence is mounting that fish oil (predominantly omega-3 fatty acids) can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death. Some scientists also believe that omega-3 fatty acids can improve one's blood lipid (cholesterol and triglyceride) levels and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.