Posted on Mar 11, 2013, 6 a.m.
A Mediterranean-style diet – rich in olive oil, nuts, as well as fruits, vegetables, and legumes – may curtail the risks of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular-related death.
Previously, a number of studies have shown that adherence to a Mediterranean diet – rich in olive oil, nuts, as w ell as fruits, vegetables, and legumes, and limited amounts of dairy products, red meat, soda drinks, processed meats, and sweets – inversely associates with cardiovascular risks. Ramon Estruch, from Hospital Clinic (Spain), and colleagues enrolled 7,447 men and women, ages 55 to 80 years, who were free of cardiovascular disease at the study’s start but either had diabetes or at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity), to consume either a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet (advice to reduce dietary fat). All subjects received quarterly individual and group educational sessions. After a median follow-up of 4.8 years, 288 participants had a primary endpoint event, including 96 (3.8%) in the olive-oil group, 83 (3.4%) in the mixed-nut group, and 109 (4.4%) in the control group. In a multivariable analysis, the olive-oil diet led to a 28% reduction in risk, compared with the control diet; with the mixed nut diet exerting similar risk reduction. The study authors conclude that: “Among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.”
Estruch R, Ros E, Salas-Salvado J, Covas MI, D Pharm, Corella D, Martínez-Gonzalez MA, et al.; the PREDIMED Study Investigators. “Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet.” N Engl J Med. 2013 Feb 25.