Posted on Mar 29, 2023, 3 p.m.
Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, who is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world's top cardiologists, a best-selling author, lecturer, and a leading expert in plant-based nutrition and holistic care.
Dietary modification is a cornerstone of cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention. A Mediterranean (MED) diet has been associated with a lower risk of CVD but no systematic reviews have evaluated this relationship specifically in women. As CVD is the number 1 cause of death in women, any progress in the prevention of CVD has huge benefits and must be taught and implemented.
While an all-plant (whole-food plant-based diet) has been shown to halt and prevent heart disease, not everyone is willing to adopt that plan. The MED diet is adopted by many but can it prevent CVD in women?
To determine the association between higher versus lower adherence to a MED diet and incident CVD and total mortality in women, a search of all prior studies was performed and published.
A search of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies with participants without previous CVD were included.
Studies were eligible if they reported a Mediterranean diet score and comprised either all female participants or stratified outcomes by sex. The primary outcome was CVD and/or total mortality.
Sixteen prospective cohort studies were included in the analysis (n=722 ,495 female participants).
In women, higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower CVD incidence (risk 24% less), total mortality (risk 23% less), and coronary heart disease (risk 25% less).
Stroke incidence was lower in women with higher Mediterranean diet adherence (13%) but this was not statistically significant. It would appear to be clinically important, however.
This study supports the beneficial effect of the MED diet on the primary prevention of CVD and death in women and is an important step in enabling sex-specific guidelines.
Women should be taught right away to reduce or drop all dairy, red meat, and processed foods. Increasing fruit and vegetable, legume, whole grain, and extra-virgin olive oil intake is advised. Added sugars should be reduced or eliminated. Red wine is optional but is a standard part of the traditional MED diet along with eating in a relaxed and social setting.
About the author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn believes that plant-based nutrition is the most powerful source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that Dr. Kahn truly began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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