The best way to stay healthy is to simultaneously eat right and exercise, but this doesn’t mean that the benefits of one can’t stand without another. According to a study featured on ScienceDaily.com, a heart-healthy diet may reduce the chances of developing heart problems in high-risk men regardless of weight loss.

Researchers led by dietician Caroline Richard M.Sc. from Laval University in Canada worked with 19 men between ages 24 and 64 who had metabolic syndrome, meaning they were all at risk for cardiovascular conditions and stroke. Risk factors include high blood pressure, low levels of high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol, and obesity.

During the first five weeks of the study, the men ate a standard North American Diet, which included a lot of red meat, as well as foods that were high in cholesterol, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar. The participants were then given a Mediterranean diet for the next five weeks, which included small portions of red meat and a lot of fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, and a little wine. This was followed by a 20-week exercise and weight loss regimen and another five weeks on the Mediterranean diet.

The results showed that whether or not the men lost weight, going through the Mediterranean diet lowered levels of low density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol by nine percent.

If you’re concerned about your man’s health, asking his doctor about the Mediterranean diet might be a good idea. Choosing the right diet is the first step to maintaining a healthy heart.

(Photo by Julia via Flickr Creative Commons)

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