Bastyr Center for Natural Health, Seattle, Washington
Health Information
Overview Health Conditions and Concerns Conditions A-M Conditions N-Z Healthy Lifestyle Tips Bastyr Health-E News News and Events Recommended Reading List Recipes National and Community Resources
Schedule an appointment today
Heart Disease | Health Conditions | Heart Disease | What's Your Heart Worth?

What’s Your Heart Worth?

July 27, 2006—For people who have had a heart attack, eating a Mediterranean-type diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fish while limiting saturated fats may be the most cost-effective way to prevent future heart disease.

A blanket term that encompasses heart attacks, stroke, angina, and heart failure, cardiovascular disease is the leading killer of men and women in the United States. It claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses, accidents, and diabetes combined. With a projected cost of more than $403 billion for 2006, effective strategies for heart disease prevention have never been more pressing.

The Lyon Diet Heart Study—a well-known trial that looked at the role of diet in cardiovascular disease protection––compared the Mediterranean diet with the Step One recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA) in people who had suffered a heart attack. The Step One diet restricts fat intake to 30% of total calories, with no more than 10% of calories from saturated fat. (Note: The AHA revised its guidelines this year to reflect recent research, and the new recommendations for people with heart disease are similar to the Mediterranean diet. This study, however, used the previous version of the AHA’s guidelines.)

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grain breads and cereals, root vegetables, green vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and fish. Red meat is replaced with poultry, and eggs are limited to four per week. Olive oil—a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids—contributes the bulk of the fat in the diet. Butter and cream, which are high in saturated fat, are avoided.

The Lyon study showed that people who followed the Mediterranean diet had a 50 to 70% lower chance of developing further cardiovascular disease than the Step One group did.

The Lyon study and similar trials demonstrate that adopting healthier eating habits lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. But when it comes to making an investment in healthcare or otherwise, most people want to know, “How much is it going to cost me?” and “What’s my return?” The people at the Center for Health Economics in Victoria, Australia, set out to answer these questions.

The team of researchers looked at how much more it would cost to follow the Mediterranean diet, and how much longer a person could expect to live in good health by adhering to the diet.

For each year of life gained in good health, the Mediterranean diet was found to cost $703 more than the Step One diet. This estimate included consultations with a cardiologist and a nutritionist, as well as the cost of food. The researchers found that following the Mediterranean diet could add almost five months to your life over a period of ten years.

Based on these results, the researchers concluded, “The Mediterranean diet is highly cost-effective for persons after a first [heart attack] and represents an exceptional return on investment.”

(J Nutr 2006;136:1879–85)

Learn more about the services provided by Bastyr Center for Natural Health, or schedule your appointment today.

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA. She cofounded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI. Dr. Beauchamp practices as a birth doula and lectures on topics including whole-foods nutrition, detoxification, and women’s health.

Copyright © 2006 Healthnotes, Inc. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of the Healthnotes® content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Healthnotes, Inc. Healthnotes Newswire is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. Healthnotes, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. HEALTHNOTES and the Healthnotes logo are registered trademarks of Healthnotes, Inc.

Learn More About It

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 |

Find a Provider

Want to find the provider that's right for you? Learn more about our health care providers.  »

Bastyr Center Disclaimer

The health information contained in this site is not intended as medical advice and should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical care. Any products mentioned in studies cited in Healthnotes articles are not necessarily endorsed by Bastyr. As with any product, consult with a natural health practitioner to discuss what may be best for you.


Appointments: 206.834.4100
Bastyr Center clinic appointments

Submit a contact request or call us to schedule an appointment »

Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego

Are you looking for Bastyr University Clinic, our new teaching clinic in San Diego? More »

Learn More About Our Services

Natural medicine can treat many types of conditions including:

More treatable health conditions »

Bastyr Center healthcare providers

Interested in finding a provider who's right for you? We recommend that your first visit at BCNH be with a Naturopathic Medicine Provider. »

Home  | Health Information  | Health Care Services  | Our Providers  | Patient Care  | Dispensaries

About BCNH  | Contact Us  | Appointments  | Privacy Policy  | Site Map | Bastyr University