Health Buzz: Mediterranean Diet Helps Heart Health, Study Says

Lena Dunham's Girls: the raw truth about twentysomethings; nutrition myths and common sense

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For Heart Health, Cut the Red Meat and Bring on the Olive Oil, Fruits, and Nuts

Those looking to cut their risk of heart disease (and who isn't?) may want to follow a Mediterranean diet, according to a major study published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers worked with about 7,500 participants in Spain, all of whom were either overweight, smokers, had diabetes, or had other heart disease risk factors, reports The New York Times. These people were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Two followed variations of the Mediterranean diet, and one group followed (and struggled with) a low-fat diet. Over the next five years, participants following a Mediterranean diet were about 30 percent less likely to suffer from heart attacks, strokes, and deaths from cardiovascular disease, reports The New York Times. "Now along comes this group and does a gigantic study in Spain that says you can eat a nicely balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and olive oil and lower heart disease by 30 percent," Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, told The New York Times. "And you can actually enjoy life."

Looking to eat like you're in the Mediterranean? On this diet, you'll load up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and legumes. You'll indulge in fish and seafood, and eat a bit of poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt, but you'll start waving goodbye to most red meat and sweets. Read our extensive profile of the Mediterranean diet here.

Lena Dunham's Girls: The Raw Truth About Twentysomethings

If you haven't yet caught HBO's cult-hit Girls, here's what you're missing: a dramedy about twentysomethings struggling to find their way in New York and, more generally, the messiness of growing up. The subtext: At twentysomething, they're still wrestling with the wrenching trials of that transition.

Well, duh! Anyone who is or has ever been in their 20s knows this. Leaving the proverbial nest naturally, and literally, inspires drama. (Anyone see Avenue Q? The Broadway coming-of-age story featured a song entitled "What Do you Do with a B.A. in English?") So it's perhaps unsurprising that Lena Dunham, the show's writer, producer, director, and star, sets up the series by ripping away her character's financial lifeline from the Bank of Mom and Dad.

It's this last bit that has rattled some viewers—the extent to which these characters are bankrolled by their parents, or expect to be, and the alleged attitude of entitlement associated with the current crop of twentysomethings. [Read more: Lena Dunham's Girls: The Raw Truth About Twentysomethings]

Nutrition Myths and Common Sense

Bamboo is notoriously poor in nutritional value, writes U.S. News blogger David Katz. And yet, it is not only adequate sustenance for giant pandas, it is the one and only food they can eat. Were there no bamboo, there would be no giant pandas—at least not as we know them.

Similarly, eucalyptus leaves would make a very poor dietary choice for a human being marooned on a desert island. We couldn't hope to survive on them. But koalas do, and they couldn't survive on anything else.

Nor need we go nearly so far afield as the mountain forests of China or arid woodland of Australia to establish the remarkable links between food and those it feeds. I routinely marvel at the power of my horse, Troubadour, particularly when those magnificent muscles are engaged in full gallop or leaping fences with me on his back. I marvel all the more at the alchemy that turns a diet of grass, hay, oats, and very little else into a horse, and all that horse power. [Read more: Nutrition Myths and Common Sense]

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