Pesco-Mediterranean Diet

Dear Friends: As many of you know we enjoy practicing and recommending self-experimentation and unleashing our inner citizen-scientist. To paraphrase both St. Basil and Bruce Lee- take what’s useful and disregard the rest. One of my favorite new approaches has been to try to take in more fish. This wonderful article by a leading cardiologist of whom I’ve long been a fan published a wonderful review that takes this one step further with the hypothesis that combining a Mediterranean diet tweak with intermittent fasting would be the ideal lifestyle for cardiovascular health. 

His premise is based on sound research and would probably benefit many as a trial- even when not doing a religious fast. 

The article has great background information on the Mediterranean diet and some good graphs. 

Pesco-Mediterranean Diet Along With Intermittent Fasting Ideal For Optimizing CV Health 

A Pesco-Mediterranean diet of plants, nuts, extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) and seafood, along with intermittent fasting, has strong cardioprotective evidence, according to a state-of-the-art review published Sept. 14 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

James H. O’Keefe, MD, et al., review the cumulative evidence regarding diet and health, incorporating data from clinical trials of the Mediterranean diet and recommendations from recent guidelines, to support the hypothesis that a Pesco-Mediterranean diet is ideal for optimizing cardiovascular health.

“Many epidemiological studies and randomized clinical trials indicate this traditional Mediterranean diet is associated with lower risks for all-cause and [cardiovascular disease] mortality, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cognitive decline, neurodegenerative diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease), depression, overall cancer mortality, and breast and colorectal cancers,” write the authors of the review.

The review outlines why seafood is a key component to the Mediterranean diet; the health benefits of Mediterranean, vegetarian and Pesco-vegetarian diets; other components of the Mediterranean Diet, including EVOO, nuts and legumes; and intermittent fasting/time-restricted eating.

“For millennia, the traditional Mediterranean diet has been based predominantly on fresh whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and olive, with fish from the sea,” write the authors of the review. “This style of eating bestows a range of health benefits, especially with respect to long-term cardiovascular health and longevity. The Pesco-Mediterranean diet with daily time-restricted eating (window of 8- to 12-hours) and emphasis on consuming fish and seafood as the principle source of animal protein, is proposed as an ideal cardioprotective diet.”

Fish/seafood≥3 times/weekLean fresh red meat≤1 time/weekProcessed meats (e.g., bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, deli meats, cold cuts)
Vegetables≥3 servings/dayWhite meat≤2 times/weekSweets
Fresh fruits≥2 servings/dayEggs≤5 yolks/weekButter and margarine
Legumes≥3 servings/weekDry red wine≤6 oz/day ♀Most refined carbohydrates such as products made with added sugars and/or white flour (e.g., commercial bakery goods, cookies, cakes, pies, candy, mashed potatoes, rolls, tortillas, and chips)
Whole grains≤3 servings/day≤12 oz/day ♂
Tree nuts≥1 serving/day
EVOO≥4 tablespoons/daySoft cheesesSoda drinks and sweetened fruit juices
Sofrito∗≥2 servings/weekDark chocolate>50% cocoaArtificially sweetened beverages and foods

EVOO = extra-virgin olive oil.

∗ A sauce made with tomato and onion, typically including garlic and aromatic herbs slowly simmered in olive oil.