The New England Journal of Medicine told us last month that the fresh produce, olive oil, and nut-filled Mediterranean diet confers significant health benefits, reducing the rates of heart attacks and strokes more so than diets that rely on low-fat foods. It's believed to contribute to well-being and feelings of happiness, too.
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Done right, it also ends up being much cheaper than buying specially made diet foods or lean cuts of meat, according to a new study. This is important news for people who aren't shopping for premium organic goods at Whole Foods -- people for whom having access to food at all is and will continue to be the reigning dietary concern.
Dr. Mary Flynn specifically addressed this advantage by designing a Mediterranean-style diet based on items available at a local Rhode Island food bank. The emphasis, here, wasn't on daily glasses of wine or fresh seafood. Instead, Flynn, a research dietician, wanted to focus on meals that contained no meat, poultry, or seafood, as such foods can account for up to 50 percent of low-income households' budgets. She recruited 83 clients from food pantries and low-income housing sites, of which 63 completed the program.