The Polymeal is a diet-based approach to combatting heart disease, proposed in December 2004 by Oscar Franco, a Colombian public health scientist at the University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Franco and his colleagues suggest the "Polymeal" as a natural alternative to the "Polypill", a multi-drug-based strategy for reducing heart disease. The researchers used the same technique in the polypill paper: a statistical "meta-analysis" which combined the results of many previous studies. The paper, appearing in the BMJ's traditionally light-hearted Christmas issue, may be regarded as somewhat satirical, as noted in responses in the journal.
The study claims that adherence to the polymeal diet would delay the average onset of heart attack by nine years among men and by eight years among women. Because cardiovascular disease is the #1 cause of mortality in first-world nations, this delay of heart failure would increase the average lifespan of men by six years and women by 5.5 years.
The researchers combined several food items already known to reduce the risk of heart disease:
- Red wine, which contains the antioxidant resveratrol, and alcohol, which some researchers think may help to reduce atherosclerosis by reducing clotting.
- Dark chocolate without dairy products
- Fish, particularly oily fish, which are sources of the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
- Fruits and vegetables
They suggest a person should consume, every day:
- 150 mL of red wine (about one glass)
- 100 g of dark chocolate
- 400 g of fruits and vegetables
- 2.7 g of garlic
- 68 g of almonds
as well as 118 g of fish per day four times each week.
Since the Polymeal is based on principles of combating inflammation, this diet could be extended to the following foods:
- fruits and vegetables (as the staple)
- ginger root
- fish (other than catfish & tilapia)
- grass-fed beef (as opposed to grain-fed)
- chicken & eggs
- herbs & spices
- olive oil
- butter (ghee)
- coconut oil
- dark chocolate (at least 85% chocolate)
- lots of water
- green tea
- red wine (dry & aged)
- turmeric (Curcuma longa)
- Franco OH, Bonneux L, de Laet C, Peeters A, Steyerberg EW, Mackenbach JP. The Polymeal: a more natural, safer, and probably tastier (than the Polypill) strategy to reduce cardiovascular disease by more than 75%. BMJ 2004;329:1447-1450. Fulltext (PDF). PMID 15604180.
- Alcohol, Wine, and Cardiovascular Disease From the American Heart Association
- Could Polymeal Increase Male Life Expectancy By 6 Years? A discussion about the polymeal and the polypill at FuturePundit
- Isn't this really reduction ad absurdum? Some pointers gleaned from the original article