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Mediterranean diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented

Date:
February 25, 2013
Source:
Universitat de Barcelona
Summary:
Results of a major study aimed at assessing the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases show that such a diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduces by 30 percent the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.

Mediterranean-style salad with feta, olives and walnuts.
Credit: © Barbara Dudzińska / Fotolia

Results of the PREDIMED study, aimed at assessing the efficacy of the Mediterranean diet in the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, have been published in The New England Journal of Medicine. They show that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or tree nuts reduces by 30 percent the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.

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The study has been coordinated by the researcher Ramon Estruch, from the Faculty of Medicine of the UB and the Hospital Clínic -- affiliated centres with the health campus of the UB, HUBc -- and has had the collaboration of the professor Rosa M. Lamuela and her team from the Natural Antioxidant Research Group of the Faculty of Pharmacy -- located at the campus of international excellence BKC -- which determined the biomarkers of Mediterranean diet consumption.

The research is part of the project PREDIMED, a multicentre trial carried out between 2003 and 2011 to study the effects of the Mediterranean diet on the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The study was funded by the Carlos III Health Institute by means of the cooperative research thematic network (RETIC RD06/0045) and the CIBER of Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (CIBERobn).

A total of 7,447 people following major cardiovascular risk factors participated in the study. They were divided into three dietary intervention groups: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean diet supplemented with nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts), and a low-fat diet (animal and vegetable). A dietician visited the patients every three months and they attended dietary training group sessions, in which they received detailed information about the Mediterranean and the low-fat diet, and the food included in each one. Moreover, they were provided with shopping lists, menus and recipes adapted to each type of diet and each season of the year.

During the study, those participants who followed any of the two types of Mediterranean diet received freely extra-virgin olive oil (one litre per week), and nuts (30 grams per day; 15 grams of walnuts, 7.5 grams of almonds and 7.5 grams of hazelnuts).

After five years, it has been proved that participants who followed any of the two types of Mediterranean diet showed a substantial reduction in the risk of suffering a cardiovascular death, a myocardial infarction or a stroke.

According to the researchers, the results of PREDIMED study are relevant as they prove that a high-vegetable fat diet is healthier at a cardiovascular level than a low-fat diet. The authors state that the study has been controversial as it provides new data to reject the idea that it is necessary to reduce fats in order to improve cardiovascular health.

Hopefully, these results will provide new references to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the design and methodology used can be easily transferred to the biomedical sector.

The study had the collaboration of several researchers from the Hospital Clínic, the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), the faculties of Medicine of the universities Rovira i Virgili, Navarra, Valencia, Canary Islands and Malaga, as well as the University Hospital Son Espases of Palma, the Fats Institute in Seville, and the primary health care networks of Barcelona, Seville, Tarragona and Valencia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ramón Estruch, Emilio Ros, Jordi Salas-Salvadó, Maria-Isabel Covas, D.Pharm., Dolores Corella, Fernando Arós, Enrique Gómez-Gracia, Valentina Ruiz-Gutiérrez, Miquel Fiol, José Lapetra, Rosa Maria Lamuela-Raventos, Lluís Serra-Majem, Xavier Pintó, Josep Basora, Miguel Angel Muñoz, José V. Sorlí, José Alfredo Martínez, Miguel Angel Martínez-González. Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. New England Journal of Medicine, 2013; 130225030008006 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1200303

Cite This Page:

Universitat de Barcelona. "Mediterranean diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225181536.htm>.
Universitat de Barcelona. (2013, February 25). Mediterranean diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225181536.htm
Universitat de Barcelona. "Mediterranean diet helps cut risk of heart attack, stroke: Results of PREDIMED study presented." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130225181536.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

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