Mediterranean diet reduces heart attack and stroke risk by 30%
26th February 2013
Results of a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine this month show that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduces by 30 percent the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.
The research is part of the project PREDIMED, a multicentre trial carried out between 2003 and 2011 to study the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. A total of 7,447 people following major cardiovascular risk factors participated in the study. They were divided into three dietary intervention groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts) and a low-fat diet (animal and vegetable). A dietician visited the patients every three months and they attended dietary training group sessions, in which they received detailed information about the Mediterranean and the low-fat diet and the food included in each one. They were also provided with shopping lists, menus and recipes adapted to each type of diet and each season of the year.
During the study, those participants who followed either of the two types of Mediterranean diet received free extra-virgin olive oil (one litre per week), and nuts (30 grams per day; 15 grams of walnuts, 7.5 grams of almonds and 7.5 grams of hazelnuts).
After five years, it has been proved that participants who followed either of the two types of Mediterranean diet showed a substantial reduction in the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.
According to the researchers, the results of PREDIMED study are relevant as they prove that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier at a cardiovascular level than a low-fat diet. The authors state that the study has been controversial as it provides new data to reject the idea that it is necessary to reduce fats in order to improve cardiovascular health.
Hopefully these results will provide new references to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
Estruch R et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 2013; 130225030008006 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303
Categories: Nutritional News, Healthy Aging, Metabolic Health