PHD student Alexandra Wade led the study said the added servings of dairy to the Mediterranean Diet provided more benefits than a generic low-fat diet which is often recommended to those with cardiovascular issues.
“We have seen positive associations between dairy and cardiovascular health in the past, but we weren’t sure how dairy would fit in with the other aspects of the Mediterranean diet,” she told Fonterra.
“The fact that the dairy complemented and in some cases promoted the benefits of the Med diet was great to see.”
“Using the MedDairy diet means people can more easily meet their recommended daily nutrient intakes while also maintaining the significant health benefits offered through the traditional Mediterranean diet.”
Alexandra noted the Mediterranean diet is fast earning a reputation as the world’s healthiest eating plan and is renowned for delivering improved cardiovascular and cognitive health. However, the traditional diet doesn’t contain enough calcium to meet the requirements for either Australian or New Zealand adults.
The New Zealand Nutrition Foundation recommends that adults have at least 1000mgs of calcium per day, or two to three servings. For those ages 12-18 and women over the age of 50 and men over the age of 70 that recommendation rises to 1300mgs per day.
A typical Mediterranean Diet includes extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrain bread, pasta and cereals, moderate consumption of fish and red wine, and low consumption of red meat, sweet and processed foods.
According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease is New Zealand’s single biggest killer causing 33% of deaths each year, many of which are premature and preventable. In Australia, cardiovascular disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia, killing someone every 12 minutes.