Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet

ImageIn a recent article published in New England Journal of Medicine, Ramón Estruch and his colleagues present results of a multicenter trial in Spain conducted to evaluate the effects of a Mediterranean diet on myocardial infarction, stroke or death from cardiovascular causes in subjects who were at high cardiovascular risk, but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet (advised to reduce dietary fat). The results of an interim analysis were so overwhelming that the trial was stopped after a median follow-up of 4.8 years.

Study enrolled 7,447 persons with an age range of 55 to 80. Severe cardiovascular events occurred in 288 participants.  More severe events occurred in control group (109) then in the  group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with extra virgin olive oil (96 events) and the group assigned to a Mediterranean diet with nuts (83 events), respectively.  It represented a 30% reduction for the groups with Mediterranean diet in comparison to the control group.

Researchers concluded that “among persons at high cardiovascular risk, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil or nuts reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events.”

How your diet compares to Mediterranean-style diet? Check it here:

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Estruch R, et al. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet.  NEJM, 2013; 368 (14):1279-1290

Post written by: Petar Denoble, MD, D.Sc.

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