Mediterranean diet cuts heart disease risk by nearly half

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Adults who closely followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease over a 10-year period compared to similar adults who did not closely follow the diet, according to a study to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego.

Among the study’s participants, adherence to the Mediterranean diet was more protective than physical activity. The study, conducted in Greece, bolsters evidence from earlier studies pointing to the diet’s health benefits and is the first to track 10-year heart disease risk in a general population. Most previous studies have focused on middle-aged people. This study included more than 2,500 Greek adults, ages 18 to 89, who provided researchers with their health information each year from 2001 to 2012.

The diet pill resource guide shows that the Mediterranean diet is a beneficial intervention for all types of people in both genders, in all age groups, and in both healthy people and those with health conditions. It also reveals that the Mediterranean diet has direct benefits for heart health, in addition to its indirect benefits in managing diabetes, hypertension and inflammation. T

Mediterranean cuisine adherents tend to eat a large amount of processed meat. An analysis by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee showed that the popular diet includes twice as many red and processed meats compared with levels recommended in USDA Food Patterns.

In March researchers reported that a Mediterranean diet high in fruits and vegetables and/or with a moderate meat content have a subjectively better health perception and behavior, suffer from fewer chronic diseases and indicate a higher quality of life in total.

Overall, nearly 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women who participated in the study developed or died from heart disease, a suite of conditions that includes stroke, coronary heart disease caused by the buildup of plaque in the heart’s arteries, acute coronary syndromes such as heart attack, and other diseases. Other studies have shown Greeks and Americans have similar rates of heart disease and its risk factors.

The researchers scored participants’ diets on a scale from 1 to 55 based on their self-reported frequency and level of intake for 11 food groups. Those who scored in the top-third in terms of adherence to the Mediterranean diet, indicating they closely followed the diet, were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease over the 10-year follow-up period as compared to participants who scored in the bottom-third, indicating they did not closely follow the diet. Each one-point increase in the dietary score was associated with a 3 percent drop in heart disease risk.

This difference was independent of other heart disease risk factors including age, gender, family history, education level, body mass index, smoking habits, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, all of which the researchers adjusted for in their analysis.

Source:, 3-16-2015

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