Mediterranean Diet Protects Against Heart Attack, Stroke
A multicenter trial involving more than 7,000 participants with cardiovascular risk factors showed that following a Mediterranean-style diet could reduce their risk for cardiovascular death, a heart attack (myocardial infarction) or a stroke. The study was part of the project PREDIMED, which was done from 2003-2011, which looked into the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular diseases. The study was coordinated by Ramon Estruch, researcher from the Faculty of Medicine of the UB and the Hospital Clínic and was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
For the study, the participants were randomly assigned to one of three dietary intervention groups, consisting of a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil (one liter per week), a Mediterranean-style diet supplemented with nuts (7.5 grams of almonds, 15 grams of walnuts, and 7.5 grams of hazelnuts), and a low-fat diet. The participants received dietary guidelines and training sessions from a dietician who visited them every three months.
Results showed that after 5 years, participants who followed either of the two types of Mediterranean diet had a significantly lowered risk of suffering from a stroke, heart attack or death due to heart disease by about 30 percent.
The researchers believe that their findings show that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier than a low-fat diet in terms of cardiovascular effects. They state that this may be controversial because it refutes previous beliefs that fat reduction is necessary to improve cardiovascular health. However, they hope that these results will provide new insight into the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, considering that the methodology they used can be easily handed on to the biomedical sector.
Universitat de Barcelona. Mediterranean diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented. ScienceDaily.