A large-scale study conducted on more than 2,500 people revealed that the Mediterranean diet cuts the chance of developing a heart disease by 47 percent compared to similar adults who didn’t follow the diet.
According to the research, following a Mediterranean diet is more beneficial to the heart than physical activity. The study was conducted in Greece and points out the diet’s major health benefits, tracking a 10-year heart disease risk on the general population.
More than 2,500 Greek adults, aged between 18 and 89, have taken part to the research, who collected data each year in the 2001-2012 period. The study gathered detailed surveys about their medical condition, dietary habits and lifestyle.
Almost 20 percent of the men and 12 percent of the women who participated developed or died from heart disease, suffering strokes or coronary heart diseases caused by damage to the heart’s arteries. The researchers evaluated the subjects on a scale from 1 to 55, based on their level of intake for 11 food categories. Those who followed the Mediterranean diet scored in the top third and were 47 percent less likely to develop a heart disease in the 10-year period of the follow-up, compared to the bottom-third of the scale, which included the people who didn’t follow the diet.
The researchers found that for every one-point increase in the dietary score there was a 3% drop in heart disease risk.
Other heart disease risk factors, like gender, age, family history, smoking habits, hypertension, family history diabetes, high cholesterol or family history were eliminated by the researchers when the conclusions of the study were drawn. The analysis confirmed the fact that an increased heart disease risk is related with male gender, older age, high C-reactive protein levels and diabetes.
The Mediterranean diet consists on fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish, whole grains, nuts, beans and even red wine. The traditional Mediterranean diet is liked to reduced risk of diabetes, weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and also reduced risk of heart disease.
The study also revealed that women tended to follow the diet more closely than men. The participants lived in and around the Greek capital of Athens, and the researchers claim that the Mediterranean diet can reduce cardiovascular risks.
The study will be revealed in full at the American College of Cardiology’s 64th Annual Scientific Session in San Diego, next week.
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