A multicenter study that previously reported a reduction in heart attack and stroke with a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or with nuts now also reports a lower risk of peripheral artery disease.
This is the first time a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of peripheral artery disease has been tested in a randomized trial.
Peripheral artery disease is a circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. In peripheral artery disease (PAD), your extremities — usually your legs — don't receive enough blood flow to keep up with demand causing symptoms such as leg pain when walking.
Researchers from the University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain assessed the association of Mediterranean diets with the occurrence of symptomatic PAD in a randomized trial conducted from October 2003 and December 2010. Participants were men 55 to 80 years of age and women 60 to 80 years of age without clinical PAD or cardiovascular disease but with type 2 diabetes mellitus or at least 3 cardiovascular risk factors.
Study participants were randomized to 1 of 3 groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil; a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts; or counseling on a low-fat diet (control group).
The trial included 7,477 participants, with an average age of 67 years, and 58 percent of whom were women. After a follow up period of 5 years, there were 89 confirmed new cases of clinical PAD. Both Mediterranean diet interventions were associated with a lower risk of PAD compared with the control group.
The Mediterranean diet is a pattern of eating that’s low in saturated fat, high in monounsaturated fat, high in fibre and packed with vitamins, minerals and protective phytochemicals. The Med diet is primarily plant-based with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts eaten daily. Read Leslie’s tips on how to adopt a Mediterranean diet.
Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, January 22, 2014.
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