Mediterranean diet reduces risk of heart disease in women.
During the early 1960s the rate of heart disease in the United States was sky-rocketing, however in Greece it was a different story. The people of Greece had some of the lowest heart disease rates in the world at the time. Scientists wanted to learn more, and they did.
Over the next 3 decades, nutritional and epidemiological research has led to the emergence of thousands of studies about the heart-health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. New research has also emerged from the University of Sydney this year with favourable outcomes specific to women and heart disease. [Pant, Gribben et al, 2023].
If you’ve been following my blogs for a while, you would have read about the effect of menopause hormonal changes which are consistent with cardiovascular ageing. With cardiovascular disease one of the highest health risks that post-menopausal women may experience, then changing our diet is one of the main things that we have control over as we move through menopause.
Midlife women have been typically forgotten about in the research on nutrition and heart disease, however, a new study from the University of Sydney offers some world-first insights into the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean Diet on the primary of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death in women.
The study findings were that women with a high adherence versus a low adherence to a Mediterranean diet had a 24% lower risk of CVD and a 23% lower risk of total mortality. (Pant, et al, 2023).
The traditional Mediterranean Diet includes a lot of vegetables – far more than the typical western diet, and one way to get lots of vegetables into us, is by making soup. I was inspired to get this recipe from my local cafe, where it was deemed a winter favourite with patrons. Even if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and heading into summer, I hope you can enjoy making it too.
Mediterranean Tomato Soup
Ingredients (makes enough for 3-4 people)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 tbsp cumin
- 1.5 tbsp paprika
- 3 cloves garlic, cut in chunks
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 courgette, chopped
- 4 cups of vegetable stock (hot water with the vegetable stock dissolved)
- 1 can of tomatoes
- 2 tbsp of tomato paste
- ½ lemon, juiced
- Salt and pepper
- Add the olive oil and garlic to a large pot which is turned onto medium heat. Fry for 2 minutes (until the garlic is fragrant but not burning) and then add the cumin and paprika. Fry for 2 more minutes, then add the diced carrot and celery. Fry those vegetables for an additional 5 minutes while stirring continuously.
- Add the vegetable stock, can of tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice, courgettes and salt and pepper. Cover the pot and then leave to cook through for approximately 20 minutes (or until the veggies are soft).
- Serve with a slice of rye, sourdough or gluten free bread.
[Inspired by the fabulous chefs at Relishes cafe, Wanaka, New Zealand].