Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mediterranean-style diet improves heart function, twin study shows

Date:
June 16, 2010
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Following a Mediterranean-style diet may reduce the risk of heart disease by maintaining heart rate variability, suggests results of a study of twins. The more a participant's eating pattern matched a Mediterranean-style diet, the greater his heart rate variability. Genes do not entirely control heart rate variability, indicating that a Mediterranean-style diet could help people with a family history of heart disease.

A study of twins shows that even with genes that put them at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, eating a Mediterranean-style diet can improve heart function, according to research reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Using data from the Emory Twins Heart Study, researchers found that men eating a Mediterranean-style diet had greater heart rate variability (HRV) than those eating a Western-type diet. Heart rate variabilityrefers to variation in the time interval between heart beats during everyday life -- reduced HRV is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and sudden death.

"This means that the autonomic system controlling someone's heart rate works better in people who eat a diet similar to a Mediterranean diet," said Jun Dai, M.D., Ph.D., study author and assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet -- one characterized by low saturated fats and high in fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil, cereals and moderate alcohol consumption -- reduces a person's heart disease risk. But until now, the way the diet helps reduce the risk of coronary disease remains unknown.

Dai and her colleagues analyzed dietary data obtained from a food frequency questionnaire and cardiac data results from 276 identical and fraternal male twins.They scored each participant on how closely his food intake correlated with the Mediterranean diet; the higher the score, the greater the similarity to a Mediterranean-style diet.

To measure HRV, participants had their heart's electrical activity continuously measured and recorded with a Holter Monitor, a portable, battery operated electrocardiogram device.

Using twins allowed team members to assess the influence of the diet on HRV while controlling for genetic and other familial influence.

Among the study's key findings:

  • Measurements of HRV showed that the higher a person's diet score, the more variable the heart beat-to-beat time interval -- 10 percent to 58 percent (depending on the HRV measure considered) for men in the top Mediterranean diet score quarter compared to those in the lowest quarter; this equates to a 9 percent to 14 percent reduction in heart-related death.
  • Genetic influence on HRV frequency ranged from 20 percent -- 95 percent, depending on the HRV measure considered.

The study cannot be generalized to women or other ethnic groups because 94 percent of participants were non-Hispanic white males.

Co-authors are Rachel Lampert, M.D.; Peter W. Wilson, M.D.; Jack Goldberg, Ph.D.; Thomas R. Ziegler, M.D. and Viola Vaccarino, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator of the Emory Twins Heart Study.

Individual author disclosures and funding sources are on the manuscript.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jun Dai, Rachel Lampert, Peter W. Wilson, Jack Goldberg, Thomas R. Ziegler, and Viola Vaccarino. Mediterranean Dietary Pattern Is Associated With Improved Cardiac Autonomic Function Among Middle-Aged Men: A Twin Study. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, 2010; DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.109.905810

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Mediterranean-style diet improves heart function, twin study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615163131.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2010, June 16). Mediterranean-style diet improves heart function, twin study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615163131.htm
American Heart Association. "Mediterranean-style diet improves heart function, twin study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615163131.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins