The Mediterranean Diet may benefit heart health, reports a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The Mediterranean diet is rich in heart-healthy fiber and nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. The diet generally includes: fruits, vegetables and unsaturated "good" fats, particularly olive oil. Olive oil has been associated with benefits such as lower blood pressure and a lower risk for heart disease.
In the new study, 7447 individuals at risk for heart disease were randomly assigned to three different diets. The diets included a Mediterranean diet with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts or a low fat control diet. Participants filled out a food frequency questionnaire yearly and were followed for 4.8 years.
Individuals on a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts had a significantly lower risk of heart attack, stroke or death from complications than the individuals from the control diet. The overall risk for adverse heart events was 30 percent lower in the Mediterranean group compared to the control group.
Further research in this area is warranted.
For more information about the Mediterranean Diet, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness Database.