Mediterranean diet protects the heart

July 4, 2007 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Mediterranean diet protects the heart
Study findings from researchers in Barcelona suggest that consuming a Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in fruit, vegetables and fish may decrease damage from LDL ("bad") cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

Researchers randomly assigned 372 participants at high cardiovascular risk to a low fat diet, or one of two traditional Mediterranean diets - one with extra virgin olive oil, the other with nuts.

After a three-month study period, researchers found that the olive oil-rich group had a reduction in oxidized LDL by 10.6 units per liter, while the nut-rich group led to a reduction of 7.3 units per liter.

The oxidation of LDL is suspected of playing an important role in the development of hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis.  

Both groups receiving the traditional Mediterranean diet experienced decreases in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.  The Mediterranean diet with nuts also led to a reduction in triglycerides and an increase in HDL ("good") cholesterol.

The Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grain, legumes and fish, has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

These latest findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.