The Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of death in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease, according to results from an observational study presented at the 2016 European Society of Cardiology Congress.
Many scientific studies have shown that a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle is associated with a lower risk of various chronic diseases and, more importantly, of death from any cause.
However, research has focused on the general population, which is mainly composed of healthy people.
The current study set out to determine if the Mediterranean diet is optimal for people who have already suffered from cardiovascular disease.
And according to a study in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease, such as coronary artery disease and stroke, the answer is yes.
The study participants were enrolled into the Moli-sani project, an observational study that randomly recruited around 25,000 adults living in the Italian region of Molise.
Among the participants, 1197 people reported a history of cardiovascular disease at the time of enrolment.
Food intake was recorded and adherence to the Mediterranean diet was appraised with a 9-point Mediterranean diet score (MDS).
During a follow up of 7.3 years a 2-point increase in the MDS was associated with a 21% reduced risk of death after controlling for age, sex, energy intake, egg and potato intake, education, leisure-time physical activity, waist to hip ratio, smoking, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and cancer.
Highest adherance to Med diet linked to 37% lower risk of dying
When considered as a 3-level categorical variable, the top category (score 6-9) of adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with 37% lower risk of death compared to the bottom category (0-3).
The researchers found that among those with a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet, death from any cause was reduced by 37% in comparison to those who poorly adhered to the dietary pattern.
The major contributors to mortality risk reduction were a higher consumption of vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts and olive oil. Researchers speculate that the anti-inflammatory properties of these foods contribute the diet’s beneficial health effects.
Source: European Society of Cardiology
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