For those who have already had a heart attack or a stroke, the combination of statins and a Mediterranean diet appears to be the most effective choice to reduce the risk of mortality, especially from cardiovascular causes, finds a new Italian study.
The traditional Mediterranean diet is rich in fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals, olive oil, wine in moderation, fish and low in meat and dairy products.
The researchers found that statins and a Mediterranean diet together were more effective, as compared to one or the other considered separately, in reducing the risk of cardiovascular mortality. Likely, a Mediterranean diet facilitated the beneficial effect of statins, that in this study were generally used at low doses.
Researchers also analyzed the potential underlying mechanisms of this positive interaction between drugs and eating habits.
The favourable combination of statins and a Mediterranean diet appeared to act by reducing inflammation, a condition that predisposes to a higher risk of illness and mortality, no by reducing blood cholesterol levels. The researchers found that a high level of inflammation doubled the risk of mortality in patients who already had a heart attack or stroke .
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